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Construction starts on UAE pavilion

CONSTRUCTION began yesterday on the United Arab Emirates' desert-inspired pavilion for Shanghai's 2010 Expo.

The golden stainless steel structure will have an undulating roof designed to look like sand dunes. It will shimmer and change colors to remind visitors of the UAE's natural environment and will be illuminated at night.

The shape of the pavilion has also been designed in response to Shanghai's weather. It will protect against the glare of the summer sun but allow indirect light to enter the pavilion.

The pavilion will be 20 meters high and cover 6,000 square meters - the largest size available to Expo participants.

"One of the most powerful and appealing experiences in the UAE is to travel through our vast desert and we want to share this experience with Chinese people," said Salem Saeed al-Ameri, commissioner general of the UAE's Expo participation.

The country will showcase the swift development of its cities. It will also present many of its environmental strategies and living experiences.

The UAE has little water and extremely hot weather for about three months every year, but its people have learnt from their forefathers how to create shade and to cool their homes naturally, said al-Ameri.

Visitors will approach the "dunes" by a walkway, which follows a stream of water toward the entrance.

In the pavilion, UAE citizens from all walks of life will talk to visitors about their daily lives, said Peter Vine, the UAE's Expo team coordinator.

He said the country planned to dismantle the pavilion after the Expo and move it back home, where it will be turned into a cultural exhibition center.

He said the pavilion follows the tradition of great UAE structures such as the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel and the Burj Dubai Tower. UAE officials declined to reveal the cost of the pavilion or the total budget of their Expo participation.

The UAE was awarded a gold medal for its pavilion at the 2008 Expo in Zaragoza, Spain.


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