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Al Wasl Plaza

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Al Wasl Plaza was the heart and identity of Expo 2020 Dubai and is now the soul of the legacy development, Expo City Dubai. It serves as the central public space conceived to convene conversation, unite visitors, and provide orientation around a single spatial experience.

Al Wasl is the historical name for Dubai, meaning “connection” in Arabic. Fitting for the exposition’s theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” the space represents Dubai’s history and symbolism through its geometry while introducing the balanced dialogue between nature and technology as a symbol of Dubai’s future. The trellis' distinctive geometry is based on a recently discovered 4000-year-old Bronze-Age ring found in the Emirates, linking the history of Dubai with the Expo.

Al Wasl’s design intent was to create a “Room-for-Living” as a spatial and experiential platform for unity through gatherings, conversation, and events. The sloped configuration of the garden offers landscaped “rooms” for relaxation, activity, and performances of varied types and scales. At night the structure transforms into an art display as the world’s largest 360-degree immersive projection experience educating, stimulating, and entertaining audiences of all ages, from all walks of life both locally and globally, to create unity, dialogue, and memories.

Designed as a comfortable microclimate, the unique form and materials extend the usable life of the garden year-round. Even during the warmest months, the shaded space, in combination with water features and landscape, provides comfort and a place of respite, quiet, and reflection connecting people to each other, the earth, and the sky.

Since the end of the Expo March 2022, the plaza has continued to play a central role—literally and metaphorically —in the exposition’s legacy as Expo City Dubai. Al Wasl strengthens Dubai’s thriving events scene, having been designed to be adapted to host experiences of all sizes and purposes, whether it be a small, intimate event or a large gathering of up to 10,000 people, such as National Day celebrations.

After closing for a brief time following the Expo, Al Wasl Plaza reopened to the public in October 2022.

5 Oct 23 | Time Out Dubai
Expo City’s Al Wasl Plaza secures Guinness World Record
The city’s trophy cabinet has a new addition... MORE

13 Oct 22 | Architizer
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture Develop Al Wasl Plaza Transforming the Role of Public Urban Space
Architizer chatted with Gordon Gill, FAIA, OAA and Co-Founder at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, to learn more about this project... MORE

09 Aug 22 | The National 
Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 Dubai longlisted for Dezeen architecture award
The heart of the global attraction is up against more than 300 other projects for the prestigious title... MORE

29 Oct 21 | Architectural Record
Dubai Expo’s Fantastical National Pavilions
The United Arab Emirate’s futuristic World Exposition, Dubai Expo 2020, opened in October... MORE

28 Oct 21  | Khaleej Times
Expo 2020 Dubai: Al Wasl Plaza is my best work ever, says designer
Al Wasl Plaza makes jaws drop at Expo 2020 Dubai. But in 2016, the structure, now considered the beating heart of the Expo, was just a few rough sketches in Gordon Gill's notebook... MORE

24 Oct 21 | The New York Times
A World-Class World Expo
The event in Dubai dazzles with extraordinary architectural achievements and a focus on the future of the planet... MORE

29 Apr 21 | Gulf News
Al Wasl Plaza: Dubai Expo 2020 is home to the world's largest 360-degree projection dome
It took 800 specialists 13.6 kilometres of steel to create the dome’s trellis framework... MORE

14 Oct 20  | Architect's Newspaper
Expo 2020 Dubai teases blossoming pavilions ahead of rescheduled festival
Expo 2020 Dubai is now technically Expo 2021 Dubai given the sixth-month global event was pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic with a new opening on October 1, 2021... MORE

1 Oct 2020 | Bureau International des Expositions
Al Wasl Plaza: the heart and soul of Expo 2020 Dubai
Interview with Gordon Gill, Design Partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture... MORE

1 Oct 20 | Dezeen
Dubai Expo reveals main pavilions ahead of rescheduled event
The organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai have released images of buildings by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, Grimshaw and Foster + Partners that will host next year's coronavirus-delayed event... MORE

29 Aug 20 | Dezeen
Nine examples of spherical architecture from around the globe
Here are nine recent globe-shaped examples... MORE

30 Mar 20 | AV Magazine
Creating a cultural icon
Standing at 67.5 metres tall, Al Wasl Plaza boasts a 360-degree immersive projection surface.. MORE

19 sep 19 | Construction Week Online
The engineering behind Expo 2020 Dubai's Al Wasl Plaza
She carries the original name of Dubai... MORE

19 sep 19 | Construction Business News
Expo 2020 Dubai lifts final piece of Al Wasl Plaza’s dome into place
Months of planning have successfully led to the final piece of Al Wasl dome being lifted into place... MORE

18 sep 19 | MEED
Al-Wasl Plaza dome adorned with steel crown
Expo 2020 construction achieves key milestone following the installation of the 550-tonne Al-Wasl Plaza crown structure... MORE

17 apr 17 | Gulf News
Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 site to offer a variety of experiences
Official says the covered area of Al Wasl Plaza was designed in a way that will attract global events following Dubai Expo 2020... MORE

5 apr 17 | Forbes Middle East
A New Breathtaking Hall Is In The Making For Expo 2020 Dubai
Visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai are in for an architectural surprise, which will be the epicenter of the 4.38 kilometer site... MORE

4 apr 17 | Construction Week Online
Design of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Wasl Plaza 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... MORE

3 apr 17 | Emirates 24/7
Expo 2020 Dubai unveils new design space with Al Wasl Plaza
The last major element in the design of the Expo 2020 Dubai site was unveiled today: Al Wasl Plaza... MORE

3 apr 17 | The National
Huge dome planned for Dubai’s Expo 2020 site
A massive dome with trellis framework is being designed as the structure that will dominate the Expo 2020 site in Dubai South... MORE

Expo 2020 Dubai, LLC

Architect of Record
e.construct LLC/The Fraser Nag Partnership

General Contractor
Laing O’Rourke

Structural Engineer
Thornton Tomasetti

SWA Group


Civil Engineer
Langan International

Immersive Experience


Water Features
Crystal Fountains

Cost Consulting

Wind Studies

MEP Engineer
Hoare Lea

Façade Access

Fire Life Safety
Jensen Hughes Associates

Crowd Modeling



WAN Awards, Leisure Category, Finalist

MIPIM Awards, Best Cultural, Sports & Education, Recognition of Excellence


Architizer A+Awards, Architecture +Joy, Special Mention

Architecture Master Prize, Recreational Architecture, Winner

Dezeen Awards, Cultural Buildings, Longlist

Re-Thinking the Future Awards, First Award, Cultural Built


The Chicago Athenaeum, International Architecture Award

The Chicago Athenaeum, Green Good Design Award