CAMPUS GERMANY: The German Pavilion for EXPO 2020 Dubai

An interactive journey through the world of sustainability Dubai

CAMPUS GERMANY – that will be the name of Germany’s pavilion at the 2020 World Expo, to be held in Dubai. Focusing on sustainability, the German Pavilion will be an entertaining, surprising, hands-on and digital showcase of German innovations and solutions in the field. The CAMPUS concept will transform the pavilion into a place of knowledge, research and interpersonal communication – in line with the EXPO 2020 Dubai theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

As they queue to be admitted to the pavilion, visitors will “enrol” at a terminal where they enter their first name, home country and preferred language of communication. They will then receive a name badge to wear on their journey through CAMPUS GERMANY. The ingenious technology built in to the badge will provide each and every guest with a very individual visitor experience.

An “induction event” in the Welcome Hall explains the theoretical concept at the heart of the German Pavilion – welcome to the Anthropocene, the era of human impact! Creative Director Andreas Horbelt from facts and fiction, the agency designing the exhibition concept, explains the intention behind CAMPUS GERMANY: “Our aim in Dubai is to show that, rather than only having a destructive impact on our planet, humankind has the capacity – thanks to its intelligence and creativity – to steer global development back onto a positive course if, as the EXPO theme suggests, we all join forces.”

CAMPUS GERMANY will take visitors on a journey through the Energy Lab, the Future City Lab and the Biodiversity Lab. Everyone will follow this “curriculum”, giving them the opportunity to progressively deepen their knowledge as they go. Once they have become “experts” in these three areas, they will have moved considerably closer to the goal of sustainable living. Visitors will be amazed at how individually the exhibition responds to them and their personal interests during the tour. This customised experience will be achieved with the aid of “IAMU” – an intelligent assistance system that will be visitors’ invisible companion as they move around the exhibition. Dubai will be IAMU’s world premiere in this function.

Sustainability – the specialist subject at CAMPUS GERMANY

The EXPO site will be divided into three districts, each dedicated to a specific theme: Opportunity, Mobility or Sustainability. The German Pavilion is located in the Sustainability district – a conscious decision, as Dietmar Schmitz from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy explains: “Germany is the place where the energy revolution known as the “Energiewende” was born – a place where science, industry and large parts of civil society are actively committed to securing a sustainable future. That’s the message we want to communicate in Dubai.” As Germany’s Commissioner General, Schmitz, who heads up the “Policy on fairs and exhibitions, expo participations” division at the Ministry, is responsible for Germany’s presence in Dubai. “The campus aspect of the German Pavilion in Dubai addresses an issue that is high on the region’s agenda: education. The pavilion’s messages will be clear and easy to understand, not too complicated. Everyone will be able to get involved and feel part of a large community. After all, unlike trade fairs, Expos are not primarily geared to experts in a particular field – they are mainly meant for everyone.”

Incredible interactions and fun features

The Welcome Hall, for instance, presents Germany in figures – by means of a huge ball pit. Each of the 155,000 balls will tell a story, present a number or spotlight a sustainability champion from Germany. Visitors will simply pick a ball and place it on one of the scanners to see a short presentation. “In our concept for the German Pavilion, we are very much committed to the idea of edutainment. We will be presenting scientific findings and technical innovations in a fact-based yet entertaining way”, says Creative Director Andreas Horbelt, explaining how his agency approached the concept for Dubai. “It will be a place where people can learn – and have fun at the same time.”

The individual exhibition spaces are designed to create an impressive whole. In the darkened Energy Lab, “energy cables” will pulsate with energy supply solutions for the future. In the Future City Lab, visitors will become part of an intricate urban landscape that completely surrounds them. In the Biodiversity Lab, they will experience the beauty and vulnerability of nature beneath a suspended installation of magnificent proportions. Each lab will create an immersive experience that will stay with visitors – not only in their minds but also, doubtless, in thousands of selfies and then on social media.

Some exhibits will also ask visitors for their own views, with questions such as, “Would you agree that we can only tackle climate change by working together?” or “Would you agree that sustainability is one of the major challenges to secure a better future?” In the grand finale in the Graduation Hall at the end of the CAMPUS GERMANY journey, everyone will sit down on one of the more than 100 swinging seats. The whole world will come together in this room. IAMU will be able to identify them all and visualise them using wall projections and spotlights on the swinging seats: Khalid from the United Arab Emirates, Maria from Poland, Karin from Germany and John from South Africa. At the end of their journey, they will realise there is more that unites them than divides them. They will be given the task of making the seats swing in unison, the message being that even the smallest of movements (minimum action so to speak) can achieve great things – if we act together.

The architectural leitmotif: a vertical CAMPUS

The architecture designed by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture), Berlin, for the German Pavilion also reflects the underlying CAMPUS idea. Rather than being a building in the traditional sense, it is a vertical ensemble of tailor-made building volumes, surrounded by a connecting element, much like a CAMPUS is surrounded by a park. “This profusion of structures represents Germany’s federal system and the diversity of its industry and research sectors”, says Professor Tobias Wallisser, a partner at LAVA, describing the architectural leitmotif employed in the concept. “Volumes stacked one on top of the other to create an airy effect combine with enclosed voids in an interplay that results in a fascinating alternation between interior and exterior spaces and many exciting and surprising perspectives”, adds Christian Tschersich, Project Manager at LAVA. This is because, between the labs, visitors will repeatedly find themselves on the terraces of the open atrium, where they can experience the campus in all its spectacular diversity.

Germany’s federal budget has set aside 50 million euros for the entire project. “A worthwhile investment,” according to Commissioner General Schmitz. “Germany uses its participation in Expos as an opportunity to look to the future and present potential solutions in the areas of science, technology and research for current problems related to the EXPO theme. Moreover, Expos are always a way for Germany to market itself too. Past German pavilions have been very successful and popular, leaving a lasting impression on visitors and the media and ultimately ensuring a strong nation brand. Germany benefits from that positive image and we are confident it will see the same benefit after EXPO 2020.”

Background information:
EXPO 2020 Dubai and the German Pavilion:

The next World Expo will take place from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 in Dubai, where the theme will be “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. More than 180 countries will be participating in what will be the first Expo to be held in the Arabic-speaking region. The organizers are expecting over 70% of the visitors to come from overseas.
Koelnmesse GmbH will be organizing and running the German Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The “German Pavilion EXPO 2020 Dubai Consortium”, comprising facts and fiction GmbH (Cologne) and NUSSLI Adunic AG (Frauenfeld, Switzerland), is in charge of concept design, planning and implementation. facts and fiction will be responsible for content, exhibition and media design, and the pavilion will be built by NUSSLI Adunic. The architecture and interior will be designed by LAVA – Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (Berlin).


CAMPUS GERMANY: THE German Pavilion for EXPO 2020 Dubai