BESIX: the Belgian Pavilion for EXPO 2020 Dubai

28 February 2019

BESIX will build the Belgian Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai, a reference in the field of eco-design.


  • BESIX will build the Belgian Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai. The project, selected as part of a public call for tenders issued by the Belgian Commission General for International Exhibitions (BelExpo), is a co-creation by BESIX, Assar Architects, Vincent Callebaut Architectures and scenographers from Krafthaus;
  • A reference in the field of eco-design, the building has the shape of a green arch, combining the latest intelligent technologies and technical techniques;
  • Under the theme "Smart & Green Belgium 2050", the Pavilion wants to offer its visitors an exhibition focused on innovations in mobility and Belgium's real ability to lead the way in this field;
  • In 2016, in partnership with Orascom, BESIX was also awarded the contract to develop the infrastructure for the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.

Designed on the theme "Smart & Green Belgium 2050", the Belgian pavilion combines state-of-the-art techniques and technologies, particularly in terms of ecological accent, offering an experience focused on the mobility of tomorrow.

In the form of a green arch, the building showcases Belgian industrial, technological and scientific know-how and will be a reference in terms of eco-design . The pavilion, a zero-waste "smart building", is an ode to the circular economy.

The exhibition, immersive and participative, illustrates for its part the mobility of tomorrow. Starting from Belgian innovations, it uses a prospective scenography to conjure up an image of Smart & Green Belgium 2050.

The Pavilion is a co-creation by BESIX, Assar Architects and Vincent Callebaut Architectures and scenographers from Krafthaus. Their collaboration has resulted in an architecturally, scenographically and artistically coherent and optimized project. Creneau International is responsible for the design and development of retail and restaurant concepts in the pavilion.

Via the Belgian Pavilion, BESIX and her partners show that it is possible to conceive our cities differently: as intelligent cities focused on the human element and on biodiversity. The integration of new and useful technologies contribute directly to improved mobility and architecture.

Rik Vandenberghe, CEO of BESIX : “We are very proud to build the Belgian Pavilion. We play “at home” as we have been active in the United Arab Emirates for more than fifty years. Our drive for excellence will be clearly put into practice in this project to promote Belgium, its regions, communities and enterprises. Moreover, our expertise in innovation and in the construction of smart buildings will be instrumental to make out of the Pavilion the flagship of our purpose: to excel in creating sustainable solutions for a better world.”


The Belgian pavilion constitutes a reference in terms of eco-design, and has been designed with 9 priority objectives.

It is a sustainable and cleverly ventilated building (1). Filtering natural light (2), it also integrates cutting-edge renewable energies (3). The use of water has been optimized (4) as a function of its various uses.

Following a holistic vision of materials life cycles (5), the building is an example of the circular economy, being made out of local, bio-sourced materials, coming from recycled and recyclable product lines and virtuous loops. The pavilion will achieve high levels of waste segregation (6). In a zero-waste logic, it has been designed to be assembled, transported and dismantled.

In terms of carbon emissions (7), the building measures, reduces and compensates its own emissions in a responsible way. Hanging gardens will convert CO2 into oxygen by photosynthesis to constitute a carbon sink. As real oasis, with its 10,000 plants, it will store up to 35 tonnes of CO2 over the duration of the exhibition. The site's biodiversity and ecological value will also be effective in combating heat island effects (8). Evapo-transpiration of the plants will lower the temperature by 3 to 5 degrees.

Finally, the building incorporates a pedagogical approach to eco-responsible lifestyles (9). It will inform the visitors of the smart technologies available to optimize their energy consumption, their CO2 emissions and their waste production.


The pavilion has the shape of a green arch. This garden-building symbolizes the union in Belgium between the federal state and the federated entities of the country.

Architecturally, the geometry of the pavilion has been designed to offer visitors the largest possible shaded and ventilated outdoor area. A spiral vault spans the pavilion surface, literally snapping up visitors.

This arch rests on two pillars, minimizing its spatial footprint and ensuring the fluid reception and mobility of the 20,000 people expected daily on the site.

The vault spirals rotating 180 degrees . Under it, an agora traverses the pavilion from side to side. Dug into the ground, it accentuates the effect of an inverted island.

Symbolically, the architecture is an expression of Belgium's dynamism. The large, welcoming arch speaks of the convergence of scientific and technological advances, economic development and human and social aspects.


BESIX Group SA is a global player and the leading group in Belgium in the field of construction. Active since 1909, the group is based in Brussels and operates in Europe, the Middle East, Oceania, Africa, North America and Asia. Its achievements include the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest tower, the buildings of the European Parliament in Brussels, and the Grand Egyptian Museum, Egypt’s largest construction since the pyramids.

In the environmental field, BESIX is at the forefront of innovation. In the United Arab Emirates, BESIX builds, manages and maintains key infrastructures for waste recycling and water treatment. In the Netherlands, the company participates in the construction of the world's first energy-neutral tunnel. In Western Europe, the group and its subsidiaries build many advanced buildings, including passive ones.

In terms of innovation, BESIX is developing a new generation of "Smart Buildings" in collaboration with Proximus. The Group is also investing in open innovation, for example through its Start-Ups Accelerator.

BESIX is already active on the EXPO 2020 site. In 2016, in partnership with Orascom, the company was awarded the contract for the construction of the infrastructure for the Dubai World Fair. In addition, the construction of a pavilion is not a first for BESIX: previously, the group built the Belgian pavilion for the Milan exhibition in 2015, which is currently being rebuilt in Namur. The renovation of the Atomium between 2004 and 2012 is also signed by BESIX.

For more than 50 years, BESIX has been active in the United Arab Emirates in many areas, including buildings, the environment, infrastructure and marine works.