Al Wasl Plaza at Expo 2020 by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill

Published Categorized as Architecture, Blog, Exhibitions

Al Wasl is a plaza covered by a 130m wide by 67m tall dome-shaped trellis. It is the intersection of all the roads at the Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Expo 2020 in Dubai

The Universal Expositions (Expos) are a global opportunity for innovation. They are held every 5 years with occasional special expos happening in between. The expos aim to transform people by inspiring them and introducing them to novel ideas. One enters into the site, sees and experiences the pavilions and exhibitions and comes out as a new person.

The Dubai Expo 2020 opened on October 1st 2021 and lasted for 6 months until the end of March 2022. It was the largest universal exhibition to date. More than 20 million people have visited it from all over the world, which is even more remarkable considering that it was held during a global pandemic.Ifo It showcased  architecture, global culture and innovation and included over 200 participants: nations, multilateral organizations, corporations and educational institutions. The theme of the Expo was “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” underscoring how the modern world is interconnected and the need to generate sustainable solutions to global problems.

Al Wasl plaza

At the center of the expo is the large public space – called Al Wasl, which is a plaza covered by a 130m wide by 67m tall dome-shaped trellis. It is the intersection of all the roads at the Expo and enables presentations, conversations, shows, concerts, movie screenings and any other public events. Because of its large size, it can be seen from afar, providing a visual orientation point for the Expo. Its architect Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill said about it:

Fitting for the exposition’s theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” the space represents Dubai’s history and symbolism through its geometry while introducing the balanced dialogue between nature and technology as a symbol of Dubai’s future. The trellis’ distinctive geometry is based on a recently discovered 4000-year-old Bronze-Age ring found in the Emirates, linking the history of Dubai with the Expo.”

Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill (Burj Khalifa designers)

In Dubai, the architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill (known for the design of the Burj Khalifa) took this idea to the next level, creating the world’s largest 360 screen with spectacular visual effects. The dome is the connection point, it’s the center of the expo. It is the “Miracle Box” of the Expo (as defined by the architect Le Corbusier), which is an empty space that comes alive at night to “perform miracles” and can uplift people’s spirits. The design is a modern-day auditorium. Below it, the visitors sit or stand in a space that is intertwined with gardens and seating areas. The space of Al Wasl is supposed to host up to 10,000 people and will remain at the center of the Expo’s legacy project District 2020. 

Dubai Expo 2020 has set the bar really high for future Expos. It has been one of the largest, most visited and well executed events. Dubai has a lot to be proud of and so do the differentparticipating nations as well. We look forward and hope that the lessons learned from the Expo will make a difference in creating a better world.

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