On the edge of Dubai, construction of the Expo 2020 venue is in full swing.
The domed trellis of Al Wasl Plaza is rising above a construction site where 40,0000 workers are shaping the venue for the world’s fair.
A steel dome, inspired by a 4,000-year-old ring found by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at an archaeological site, will rise to 67.5 metres and encompass Al Wasl Plaza, the centre of Expo 2020 Dubai.
The main construction of three surrounding petal-shaped pavilions is complete, the walkways between them already shaded by ghaf trees, date palms and photovoltaic ‘trees’ that will help power the site.
“Today was a big milestone,” said Ahmed Al Khatib, chief development and delivery officer of Expo 2020, during a site visit on Tuesday. “The journey started in 2015 when we moved 250,000 cubic metres of sand. We were very happy with those small numbers then.”
Mr Al Khatib stressed the values of Expo 2020 begin with its construction. The project has 41 targets for sustainable construction practices and strict guidelines for contractors on builders’ wages and accommodation.
More than 100 million man-hours have been completed.
“We consider them our partners in this business and they know what their value is and what they are delivering,” said Mr Al Khatib.
Expo-led construction is on track to be completed by the end of the year. Expo 2020 Dubai will be held from October 2020 until April 10 the following year, with 25 million visitors expected to flock to the emirate for the world fair.
But what is Expo?
A pop-up pavilion will be touring the 65 locations in the UAE until March 21 next year to give the public a glimpse of what to expect at Expo 2020. The pavilion’s walls are interactive screens showing the fair’s architecture, food, events and themes.
Visitors can spin a digital wheel to preview pavilion designs, from Brazil’s rainforest inspired pavilion to the United Kingdom’s Poem Pavilion, which will have an exterior of continuously changing poetry inspired by Stephen Hawking’s ‘Breakthrough Message’ conceived to contact extraterrestrial message.