The curators of the UAE Pavilion — architects Wael Al-Awar and Kenichi Teramoto — present “Wetlands,” which includes a structure that explores sea salt as a locally sourced building material.
Standing 2.7 meters tall with a 7 x 5 meter base, the structure offers an interior space that visitors can easily enter. It was built using MgO cement, made from brine left over from industrial desalination processes, a resource that is abndant in the UAE, and which has the strength and durability to be used in modern architecture.
The pavilion also offers an exercise in how to build sustainably while incorporating local heritage. Its organic shapes are inspired by the UAE’s traditional vernacular of coral-built houses and the mineral-rich sabkhas (salt flats) that are part of the country’s wetlands. The pavilion includes a number of large images of sabkhas by New York-based Emirati artist Farah Al-Qasimi.