British architecture firm Foster + Partners has unveiled its design for the Saudi Arabia pavilion at Expo 2025 Osaka. The pavilion will be inspired by the traditional villages of Saudi Arabia and will be part of the World Expo, taking place on the artificial island Yumeshima in Osaka Bay, Japan. Sou Fujimoto Architects is developing the masterplan for the event.

Foster + Partners aims to provide a spatial experience reminiscent of exploring Saudi Arabian towns and cities in their pavilion design. They will incorporate audio-visual installations, developed in collaboration with design studios 59 Productions and Squint/Opera, to enhance this experience for visitors.

It will be modelled on traditional villages in Saudi Arabia

“The pavilion takes visitors on a journey of discovery and chance encounters that – layer by layer – paints a vivid picture of Saudi Arabian culture,” said Foster + Partners head of studio Luke Fox.

“Our design plays with scale, light, sound and texture to stimulate all of the senses, while showcasing some of the country’s most innovative and exciting accomplishments.”

There will be a courtyard at the centre of the pavilion

The Expo 2025 Osaka, organized by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), is scheduled to begin on April 13, 2025, and will run for six months. Sou Fujimoto Architects, along with Japanese studios Tohata Architects & Engineers and Azusa Sekkei, is responsible for the masterplan. Shigeru Ban is also designing a pavilion for the event.

Foster + Partners’ design for the Saudi Arabia pavilion is inspired by the architecture of traditional villages in the country. The pavilion will consist of angular volumes with a forecourt adorned with native Saudi Arabian plants, serving as the entry point. Inside, there will be narrow, winding streets leading to a central courtyard. This courtyard will offer a peaceful space for reflection during the day and can transform into a venue for performances and events at night.

Walkways will weave throughout

The structure will include immersive installations in windows, doorways, and other spaces, created in collaboration with 59 Productions and Squint/Opera. These installations aim to connect visitors with the undiscovered wonders of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the pavilion, inspired by a traditional Saudi Arabian village, is designed to allow cool winds from the west in the summer and protect from harsh winds from the north in the winter.

Audio-visual installations will also feature in the pavilion

Foster + Partners plans to use environmentally friendly materials like stone for the Saudi Arabia pavilion at Expo 2025 Osaka.

The design emphasizes deconstruction and reuse, and features rainwater recycling and photovoltaic technologies for electricity generation.

The last international fair, Expo 2020 Dubai, took place in 2021, and Foster + Partners designed the trefoil-shaped pavilion in the mobility district for that event.