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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 May 2018

Huge dome planned for Dubai’s Expo 2020 site

DUBAI // A massive dome with trellis framework is being designed as the structure that will dominate the Expo 2020 site in Dubai South.

The design plans for Al Wasl Plaza were unveiled on Monday and showed a dome that would double up as a 360-degree screen at night, projecting images to thousands of visitors both inside and outside.

Built of light, translucent material, the dome – 65 metres tall with a diameter of 150m – will hold an estimated 10,000 visitors, said Ahmed Al Khatib, vice president of property at Expo 2020 Dubai.

A public tender would be released soon for Al Wasl Plaza, for which building will be completed by the end of 2019.

Filled with fountains, waterfalls, parks and palm-lined courtyards, the dome will be partly open to the sky at the top.

“Al Wasl is a significant area because it means ‘connection’ in Arabic and is the historical name for Dubai, and it aims to be a link between the east and west even in the Expo,” Mr Al Khatib said.

“It will be a central hub linking all three thematic pavilions of sustainability, opportunity and mobility.”

Infrastructure work on the Expo 2020 site will be completed by July 2018 and heavy construction will be finished by October 2019.

While a cost estimate for the plaza would be available after the tender was granted, the theme areas on the site will cost about Dh2.2 billion.

Described as the last major design element at the centre of the 4.38-square kilometre site, it will be developed alongside other locations such as the themed pavilions.

The high domed trellis was inspired by the shape of the Expo 2020 Dubai logo, a 4,000-year-old gold ring discovered during excavations in the Sarouq Al Hadeed archaeological site in the desert.

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) beat global competition to win the contract for the plaza. Adrian Smith was a design partner on the team that designed the Burj Khalifa.

“We are creating a space that will be an architectural landmark not just for the six months of Expo but long into the future,” said Gordon Gill, design partner at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.

The plaza will be a staging area for events throughout Expo 2020 Dubai and will continue after the world fair ends in 2021.

“This will be the main area receiving visitors from the metro station and the UAE pavilion will overlook it,” Mr Al Khatib said.

“The design is flexible so small and large events can be held here. It can also be used for National Day activities and festivities. Past the expo, the area inside will also be used as a natural garden because the light materials used will not allow heat and radiation to enter. Traditionally expo sites were built temporarily and then demolished. But we have a post-expo team with a clear plan for its usage.”

Apart from renewable energy that will be produced from the solar panel canopy of the pavilions, water from sinks and showers will also be used for irrigation.

On the vast site off the Jebel Ali - Lehbab road, a 75-year old goaf tree stands on a large mound of sand as workers in cranes level the surrounding area and storm water pipes are laid. The tree will be retained as part of the project,

The UAE national flag has been raised on the section earmarked for the country’s pavilion.

Columns have been cast for the Dubai Metro and three power plants under construction will be operational by the year-end. Construction is also on for logistic support for the expo village that will be the first to be completed.

rtalwar@thenational.ae