The pavilion is clad in a Islamic-style patterned screen. Images courtesy of Foster + Partners.
Here's the lowdown from Foster:
Foster + Partners’ scheme for United Arab Emirates Pavilion at Shanghai’s Expo 2010 is revealed
Foster + Partners has designed the concept for the United Arab Emirates Pavilion at Shanghai’s Expo 2010. Devised to relate to the theme 'Better Cities, Better Lives', the pavilion is inspired by the principles of traditional Arab city planning. It integrates the latest technologies to maximise both the passive and active environmental profile to illustrate the essential principles of a humane city that captures the spirit of the UAE and articulates its commitment to a more sustainable urban vision for the future.
A semi-transparent patterned screen envelops the building and creates a strong visual identity. Based on a simple octagon, one of the simplest and most ancient patterns in Arabic art, the filigree provides shading while also creating a dynamic play of light and shade in the interior spaces. Designed to include solar captors, the screen will provide energy for the running of the pavilion as well as cooling for the interior spaces.
Behind the shelter of the screen, the visitor will find an extraction of a traditional Arabic city and by combining technological innovation with traditional elements of Arab culture such as the use of intricate patterns and the compact urban plans of ancient Arab cities; the pavilion reflects the UAE’s mission to lead the way towards a sustainable future, while also preserving the art and culture of its past.
The pavilion will be one of the largest in the Expo at 20m high and with 6000sqm of exhibition space.