The master plan for Dubai Expo 2020 looks to the future while celebrating traditional Emirati culture and community. HOK served as the lead designer for the master planning team that created the 1,000-plus acre layout for this quinquennial global summit that brought more than 20 million visitors to the United Arab Emirates.
The design features three pavilions symbolizing opportunity, sustainability and mobility. These three zones emanate from a central plaza named the Al Wasl, the historic Arab name for Dubai meaning “the connection.” Inspired by the layout of a traditional Arabic “souk,” or marketplace, the design places larger pavilions on the perimeter while smaller exhibit spaces cluster toward the center to aid pedestrian flow and interaction.
The team planned the Expo site to serve as a sustainable benchmark for events in the Middle East. A photovoltaic fabric structure covers the main walkways, acting as a solar-powered sun shade and combining with photovoltaic panels on building facades to capture enough sunlight to generate at least half of the Expo’s energy requirements. Other sustainable strategies include recycling wastewater, reusing materials and monitoring the Expo’s carbon footprint.
The plan ensures that the site and many of the structures can transition into being part of the city’s fabric after the event.
HOK teamed with Populous and Arup on the master plan.