Burj Khalifa-architect to design translucent dome for Dubai Expo 2020

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture has revealed the design for a translucent dome-shaped plaza  which will dominate tbe Dubai Expo 2020 site.

The Al Wasl Plaza will link the three main pavilions on the site, themed Sustainability, Opportunity and Mobility (designed by Grimshaw, Bjarke Ingels Group and Foster + Partners) and have a capacity for 10,000 visitors and double up as a 360 degree screen at night on which images can be projected.

The 150m diameter dome will be 65m tall and have a trellis framework. It will be placed at the centre of the 4.38km2 site.

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Image courtesy of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

Construction work is due to start in the coming months and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

As the dome is translucent, the projections will be visible to both those inside and out. The interior will be filled with fountains, waterfalls, parks and palm-lined courtyards with the roof partially opened to the sky.

Al Wasl is the historical name for Dubai and also means “connection” in Arabic, so the organisers say it reflects both the event’s goal of bringing people together and the building’s physical location at the heart of the Expo site.

Image courtesy of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

The design was inspired by the shape of the Expo 2020 logo – based on a 4,000 year old gold ring discovered at the Sarouq Al Hadeed archaeological site in Dubai.

The Chicago-based architectural firm – led by Burj Khalifa and Jeddah Tower designer Adrian Smith – beat global competition to design the plaza.. It will act as a reception area for visitors arriving from the Metro . The UAE pavilion, designed by Santiago Calatrava, will overlook it.

Gill said: “We are creating a space that will be an architectural landmark, not just for the six months of the Expo, but long into the future.”

Image courtesy of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.

A tender for construction is set to be released soon and the schedule for completion is late 2019.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director general, Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said: “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.”

READ MORETop 12 Dubai Expo 2020 projects

The plaza will also play a key role in the post-Expo legacy.

Ahmed Al Khatib, vice president of property for the event, said: “Traditionally Expo sites were built temporarily and then demolished. But we have a post-Expo team with a clear plan for its use.

“After the Expo the area inside will be used as a natural garden because the light materials used will not allow heat and radiation to enter.”

The site will use renewable energy produced by solar panels on the pavilions while water from bathrooms and showers will be used for irrigation.

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

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