4 apr 17 | Construction Week Online

Design of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Wasl Plaza revealed

By Jochebed Menon

The major design plan for Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Wasl Plaza has been revealed.

The plaza will be an open space that combines contemporary design, innovative technology, and an intricate domed trellis incorporating a huge immersive projection experience.

It will be located at the centre of the 4.38km2 Expo 2020 site, according to state news agency, WAM.

Al Wasl, which is 150m in diameter, will act as a central hub during Expo 2020, bringing people of all backgrounds together to ‘Connect Minds’, a key ambition of the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region.

Through its seven entrances and exits, it will connect the three thematic districts – Opportunity, Sustainability, and Mobility – as well as the other main concourses, including the Dubai Metro link and the UAE Pavilion.

The Expo 2020 Dubai team worked with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) on the design of the space after the firm beat competition from some of the biggest names in the industry to win the contract.

The plaza will be topped by a 65m-high domed trellis inspired by the shape of the Expo 2020 Dubai logo. The trellis will act as an immersive 360° projection surface.

As the dome is translucent, projections will be visible both inside and out. The plaza's other features will include restaurants, fountains, and parks.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general of the Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said, "Memorable moments are framed by memorable spaces. Al Wasl Plaza will be an inspirational location, exemplifying local culture and family values while also looking to the future. It is also the last major design element of the Expo site to be finalised. We look forward to watching the plaza develop alongside the rest of Expo 2020 Dubai."

The design of the plaza uses techniques to calibrate the temperature under the trellis with that outside, ensuring a comfortable environment.

Gordon Gill, design partner at AS+GG, said: "Expo 2020 Dubai will be an exceptional, unmissable, and breath-taking global destination, and we feel Al Wasl Plaza embodies that vision.

"We are creating a space that will be an architectural landmark not just for the six months of Expo but long into the future. We want Al Wasl Plaza, with its cutting-edge design, to inspire not just our generation but many generations to come."

The plaza will be home to events throughout Expo 2020 Dubai and after the event has concluded in 2021. It will provide a focal point for development in the area, with plans to convert surrounding buildings of 10 to 13 storeys into hotels and commercial facilities, complementing the entire mixed-use legacy of the Expo 2020 site.

Expo 2020 Dubai will open its doors on 20 October, 2020 and will end on 10 April, 2021.

Work on Al Wasl Plaza is due to commence in the coming months. The project is expected to complete by the end of 2019.

As the last major design element of the Dubai South site to be revealed, Al Wasl Plaza will be developed alongside the area's other facilities, such as its themed pavilions, for which all heavy construction work is scheduled to complete by October 2019.