Nagayama Yuko drew inspiration from the Japanese art of Origami, for the Japan national pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Representing historical ties between Japan and the Middle East, Yuko found common connection by combining traditional Arabesque and Asanoha patterns.
The intricate façade of the pavilion is a new kind of geometrical 3D lattice, serving as the structure and environmental filter. Symbolising the art of Origata gift wrapping of showing respect to others, the same is expressed through materiality by using a soft layer material, representing Japanese paper.
The framing system, along with the cladding material, also provides shade and protection from the extreme heat in the region.
Reflecting on the expo’s theme of ‘connecting minds and creating the future’, Yuko explains, “I conceived the theme of the architecture in particular as two types of connections: the cultural connection and the technological connection between Japan and the Middle East.”
She continues, “For the technological connection, I wanted to incorporate the element of water based on the water technology long utilised in the Middle East region. It is my hope that future connections with the Middle East as well as between people can emerge from this pavilion.
The design incorporates water as a cooling element, to lower the ambient temperature and help passively cool the pavilion.
Project Name: Japanese Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai
Design Architect: Yuko Nagayama & Associates
General Producer: DENTSU LIVE INC.
Master Architect: NTT FACILITIES, INC.
Structural, MEP, Facade engineering: ARUP
Born in 1975 in Tokyo, Yuka Nagayama graduated from Showa Women’s University in 1998 with a degree in life and environmental sciences. From 1998 to 2002, she worked at the architecture studio of Jun Aoki. In 2002, she established her own studio, NAGAYAMA Yuko & ASSOCIATES. Her major work includes the Kyoto Daimaru Louis Vuitton store, A Hill on a House, ANTEPRIMA, Kayaba Coffee, Sisii, Kiya Ryokan, Teshima Yokoo House, the fifth floor of Shibuya Seibu AB, and Goddess of the Forest Central Garden (a hall complex in Kobuchisawa, Yamanashi). Her many accolades include the L’Oreal Encouragement Prize; JCD Design Award Encouragement Prize in 2005; AR Emerging Architecture Awards 2006 in the UK for A Hill on a House; Architectural Record Award, Design Vanguard in 2012; JIA Best Newcomer in 2014 for the Teshima Yokoo House; Yamanashi Architecture Culture Prize; JCD Design Award Silver Prize in 2017; and Tokyo Architecture Prize Excellence Award in 2018 for Goddess of the Forest Central Garden. She is currently designing a new skyscraper for the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku, planned for completion in 2022.