UAE Focus

Al Wasl at Expo 2020.

Al Wasl at Expo 2020.

Expo 2020 unveils inspirational plaza

May 2017

The last of the major design elements of the Expo 2020 Dubai site was unveiled last month with Al Wasl Plaza, an open space that combines breathtaking design, innovative technology and an intricate domed trellis incorporating a huge immersive projection experience.

The plaza will be a unique space at the centre of the 4.38-sq-km site that will make a dramatic impression on the millions of people visiting Expo 2020 Dubai from around the world.

Al Wasl Plaza will be developed alongside the other locations such as the themed pavilions at the site, which is on track for the scheduled date of October 2019 for all heavy construction work to be finished.

Al Wasl, which is 150 m in diameter, was designed to have not only the ‘wow factor’ but also to be a central hub during the Expo and beyond, bringing people of all backgrounds together to ‘Connect Minds’, a key ambition of the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa) region.


It will connect the three thematic districts – Opportunity, Sustainability and Mobility – as well as the other main concourses, including the Dubai Metro link and the UAE Pavilion, through its seven entrances and exits. Work is due to start on Al Wasl Plaza in the coming months and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

Expo 2020 Dubai worked with world-renowned Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) on the design of the space after the firm beat competition from some of the biggest names in the industry to win the contract. Adrian Smith was design partner on the team that designed Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

The plaza will be topped by a 65-m-high domed trellis inspired by the shape of the Expo 2020 logo. The trellis will act as an immersive 360-degree projection surface.

As the dome is translucent, the projection will be visible to both those inside and out.

Al Wasl is not only the historical name for Dubai but also means ‘connection’ in Arabic, so it reflects both Dubai’s goal of bringing people together at the Expo and the plaza’s physical location at the heart of the site.

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