Expo 2020 site starts to take shape in Dubai

The 438-hectare site close to Dubai's new Al Maktoum airport is in the final stages of site clearance as architects and designers the finishing touches on a detailed master plan.

An artist rendering for the Al Wasl Plaza inside the Dubai Expo 2020 venue. Courtesy HOK and Arup
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You may not be able to see much from the road, but behind the vast huge wooden hoardings in Jebel Ali, workers are busy preparing to build Dubai’s 2020 Expo.

This week Dubai’s Expo Preparatory Committee, which is overseeing the construction of the high- profile project, announced it had reappointed a consortium of HOK and Arup architects and urban planners to complete detailed master planning work for the project on a contract which will run until November 2015.

HOK and Arup said that they would work on fine-tuning the original master plan, a key part of the Dubai bid which won the competition to hold the World Expo last year. This would include urban design, landscaping, signage, facilities management, security and transportation on the 150-hectare Dubai Expo 2020 project, which will be surrounded by houses, hotels and warehouses.

Construction on the site, which at its peak will welcome up to 300,000 visitors, is expected to be completed in October 2019, allowing a year for snagging and fine-tuning before the show finally opens on October 20, 2020.

And work on Expo Village, a housing project aimed at accommodating staff working for the 250 Expo participants is scheduled to complete a year earlier in 2018.

“HOK and Arup are pleased to re-engage with this landmark project, allowing us to continue on the next chapter and help in the development of a master plan that sets new precedents for hosting a global event of this type,” said Daniel Hajjar, senior vice president in HOK’s Dubai office.

“Dubai Expo 2020 will ensure the site leaves behind an iconic legacy befitting of this truly generation-defining event,” he added.

“Expos have been home to some of the world’s most landmark structures, from the Crystal Palace in London to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Dubai is committed to building on this tradition and making the entire site an experiential environment that fully embodies the essence of our theme ‘connecting minds, creating the future’,” said Reem Al Hashimy, director general of Dubai Expo 2020 Office.

According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch research published last year, Dubai’s 2020 Expo could provide the emirate’s economy with a US$23 billion windfall, contributing 24.4 per cent of GDP spending over the period 2015 to 2021, including spending by the host, participants and visitors.

“[The Expo] should provide a modest lift to GDP growth leading up to the period and a more material one around the event itself in our view,” the report said.


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