Expo Dubai 2020 – a preview

Place: Dubai, Country: United Arab Emirates
Text by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit
For image credits: see captions

Expo Dubai 2020 aerial night view

Expo Dubai 2020 – master plan, aerial view at night, image courtesy of HOK

EXPO Dubai 2020 – a preview

After winning in 2013 the final battle for being the host city of the EXPO 2020 against Turkish, Brazilian and Russian candidates, Dubai is now preparing for the event. Here, we will discover a bit more on the theme, venues, and program of the first edition of the world’s fair to be hosted in the Arabian Peninsula. EXPO Dubai will run from October 2020 through April 2021.

Main theme and sub-themes
Taking the cue from Dubai’s Arabic name Al Wasl (الوصل‎), which means “the connection”, EXPO Dubai 2020 will be based on an ambitious theme entitled “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, further articulated into three sub-themes:

Opportunity – Unlocking new possibilities for people and communities to become successful contributors to the future Focusing on people’s and businesses’ inter-connection as a factor for the world’s social and economic development

Mobility – Creating smarter and more productive physical and virtual connections. Focusing on people, goods, and data mobility strategies, devices, and infrastructures

Sustainability – Pursuing our hopes of progress without compromising the needs of future generations. Particularly focusing on sustainable production and consumption of energy and water, two points that, though in a different way, influence the economy and the people’s everyday life of many Arabian countries.

The site
The main home of the 2020 Word’s fair will be a 438-hectare site (1,083 acres, more than double the area of EXPO Milan 2015), part of the new Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali urban development, located midway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi; on site-works started in 2015, with completion scheduled for 2019.

Expo Dubai 2020 main plaza aerial view 01

The master plan, close-up of the central area with the three main pavilions, courtesy EXPO Dubai 2020

Expo Dubai 2020 site masterplan aerial view 01

The master plan, bird’s eye view, courtesy EXPO Dubai 2020

Expo Dubai 2020 site plan

Site plan, courtesy EXPO Dubai 2020

Expo Dubai 2020 Park Village

The master plan, aerial view, image courtesy of HOK

Expo Dubai 2020 aerial day view

The master plan, aerial view of the central area, image courtesy of HOK

The site master plan, conceived by the U.S (and multinational) design firm HOK together with celebrated London-based engineering group Arup, combines national pavilions, educational spaces, performance venues, and hosting facilities around a central core.
Such core features three large pavilions, each dedicated to one of the three themes of the EXPO, radiating from the semi-covered Al Wasl central plaza, a large event space inspired by the traditional Arabian marketplace, the souk (سوق‎).

Coherently con the sub-theme “sustainability” the master plan envisages a large use of low-impact solutions, such as photovoltaic-fabric-based canopies covering the main walkways, waste-water recycling, and the use of a relevant portion (about 30%) of recycled content as building materials. It is expected to produce on site about 50% of the required energy from renewable sources, especially solar radiation. Furthermore, at least a part of the structures built for EXPO, will remain in place and reused as research and innovation venues.

Expo Dubai 2020 central plaza day view 02

“Al Wasl” plaza, daytime render, image courtesy of EXPO Dubai 2020

Expo Dubai 2020 central plaza night view 02

“Al Wasl” plaza, render at night, image courtesy of EXPO Dubai 2020

Expo Dubai 2020 photo voltaic canopies

Photo-voltaic fabric canopies, image courtesy of HOK

Expo Dubai 2020 LED light trees

“Light trees”, image courtesy of EXPO Dubai 2020

Early initiatives – Meet the Artists
Despite still four years have to pass before the official opening of EXPO Dubai 2020, the organizers have already started some initiatives related to its themes.
An example is the project “Meet the Artists”, which invited artists from all over the world to create a graphic inspired by the three sub-themes of EXPO: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. The designs are exhibited in 21 public spaces across the United Arab Emirates. 21 artists – from the United Kingdom, Italy, the UAE, France, Switzerland, the USA, Spain, New Zealand, Jordan, China, Finland, and Iraq – were involved in the project.

Expo Dubai 2020 Tane Williams

Tane Williams, New Zealand, subject: Transporting Energy and Water

Expo Dubai 2020 Jonathan Calugi

Jonathan Calugi, Italy, subject: Collaboration

Expo Dubai 2020 Ryan Todd

Ryan Todd, UK, subject: Diversity

Expo Dubai 2020 Takeshi

Takeshi, France, subject: Culture

More info at https://www.expo2020dubai.com/

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