Architect of the Malaysia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, Serina Hijjas, is hopeful Malaysia will be further inspired to develop sustainably following the country’s two successive participations at sustainability-themed world expos.
Speaking at the Climate and Biodiversity Week hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai, the renowned architect believed that sustainability will be a lasting theme of the global event. The subject is critical to the entire world concerned with the threat of climate change.
As the architect who conceptualised the Malaysia Pavilion, the first nett-zero carbon building in the recently- opened Expo 2020 Dubai, Serina was also involved in the design works of the national installation at the Milan World Expo in 2015. She said her works aimed to inspire and explore the broader themes of sustainability.
“There is always this self-criticism to whether we can improve on what we have completed. I desire that the Malaysia Pavilion will inspire our nation to push towards advancing sustainable choices in how we build and live with cost and environment in mind,” said the Principal Director of Hijjas Architects and Planners.
On the architecture styles of pavilions at Expo 2020 Dubai, Serina observed that some were inspired to respond to the local climate while others were making dramatic, iconic statements.
“This is the same as in the last expo in Milan. The difference this time around is the attention to sustainability given by Expo 2020. It will be interesting to see the next expo making it a requirement that pavilions must be able to be disassembled and reassembled in the country of origin,” she added.
Serina was the Malaysia Pavilion’s key opinion leader invited to speak at several forums at the quinquennial event,
which opened its door on Oct 1, after a one-year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She shared her ideas and vision behind the nett-zero carbon emissions pavilion at two Climate and Biodiversity Week events, the first thematic week under the Expo’s Programme for People and Planet.
There are a total of 10 themed weeks running throughout the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, exploring humanity’s most critical challenges and opportunities through cultural, social, environmental, and economic lenses.
On Oct 7, she spoke at the Effective Climate and Biodiversity Solutions organised by the Colombia Pavilion. She later joined a panel comprising the architect of the Austria Pavilion and the Commissioner General of the Sweden Pavilion on the Sustainability @ Expo: Restoring Balance series, which was co-curated by Expo and Malaysia on Oct 9.
Malaysia’s Rainforest Canopy Pavilion also caught the attention of the Slovenia Pavilion, where Serina spoke at the forum on Greening transformation of the construction industry and espoused the climate benefits of using sustainable timber as construction materials which reduces the carbon footprints of buildings.
“Greening the construction industry requires pushing beyond conventional thinking and building limitations. Understanding the use of more sustainable building materials like eco-concrete, sustainable timber, adopting energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources will contribute to reducing carbon footprint,” added Serina, who is also Malaysia’s Green Building Council Deputy President.