Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 May 2019

Master plan of Expo village to be ready by 2015

As specifics of the site are worked on, organisers of Dubai's World Fair highlight the way forward to delegates on the final day of the Destination Dubai 2020 conference.
A video grab from a Dubai Expo 2020 handout video that shows a computer-generated architectural impression of the photovoltaic roof that will be a central feature of proposed Dubai Expo 2020 site near Jebel Ali.
A video grab from a Dubai Expo 2020 handout video that shows a computer-generated architectural impression of the photovoltaic roof that will be a central feature of proposed Dubai Expo 2020 site near Jebel Ali.

DUBAI // A solar-powered canvas canopy will provide shade for visitors to the Expo 2020 site during the day, while a photovoltaic panel-lined roof will light up at night for spectacular digital shows, said senior officials planning the world fair.

As specifics of the site are worked on, organisers highlighted the way forward to delegates on the final day of the Destination Dubai 2020 conference on Wednesday.

Building work will begin after 2015 on the 438-hectare site in Jebel Ali, which will also house an Expo village.

The focus this year will be on drawing up a detailed master plan that must be presented by the third quarter of 2015 to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the expo custodian.

“The Arabian souq is at the heart of the master plan and the souq theme will bring an amazing vibrancy to the expo,” said Christopher Scott, the director investment and development of the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Three main zones will be dedicated to the Expo’s themes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

“The central Al Wasl Plaza is from the old Arabic name for Dubai meaning ‘the connection’. Smaller pavilions will be located in the souq,” he said.

“A tremendous amount of planning has gone in to reaching this stage. We’re entering the next phase of planning.

“We will start construction after 2015 but some infrastructure requirements, like the Metro extension, may start earlier. Our target is to create everything a year before to give us ample time to do testing at the venue.”

The Metro station will be located within a new mall to serve the area.

About 2,100 apartments will be part of an Expo village, similar to an Olympic village.

“These will be sold or rented later to the open market,” Mr Scott said.

“These will be among very few permanent buildings to be sure the site does not become a white elephant.”

Using strong local content was key, said Daniel Hajjar, management principal of HOK Middle East and Africa, the company that designed the site.

“We leveraged traditional architecture like the souqs,” he said. “But we also needed to make a grand statement of Dubai putting itself on the map. This can really become a beacon for the southern end of the city.”

Banks, medical centres, food and beverage courts will cover the area.

As part of the core theme of sustainability, most structures including the pavilions will be reused to create an exhibition and conference centre, a university and a national museum dedicated to the Expo.

“When we started the design the parameters were very clear,” Mr Hajjar said.

“We knew that these facilities would need to be readapted and reused and this would be paramount. The world fair is in a city for six months but what will remain is a legacy.”

The canopy will protect visitors during the day and photovoltaic panels in it will generate 50 per cent of the site’s energy requirements.

About 30,000 volunteers will be required to help run a site that will host 300,000 people a day. The volunteers will be in addition to 275,000 jobs created in sectors ranging from transport, hospitality and hotels.

As many as 182 nations are expected to participate.

The next milestone will be building the UAE’s pavilion at the Milan Expo next year.

Long, winding 12-metre-high sand-textured walls will recreate the region’s sand dunes. A revolving theatre and an oasis are part of the dramatic pavilion planned for the Italian world fair.

Story-telling was a vital ingredient in UAE offerings, said Peter Vine, the director of the UAE pavilion project in Milan.

“The pavilion will celebrate the UAE and tell the story of its remarkable growth. Visitors will also meet Emirati ambassadors who will be the conduit for telling the stories about how the UAE has grown.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae

Updated: January 30, 2014 04:00 AM

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