Expo 2020 - thematic districts.

Dubai, UAE

Ian Gow, Partner at Hoare Lea

Project Lead:
Ian Gow

Pushing the boundaries of possibility.

Iconic developments that attract attention across the globe are few and far between. The World Expo is such a project. Organised every five years, they provide a global destination for millions of people, fostering creativity, innovation, and collaboration between countries and cultures.

Mobility, sustainability, opportunity.

The ‘Connecting minds, Creating the Future’ 2020 Expo in Dubai has three distinct themes, each of them showcased in a dedicated district: mobility, sustainability, opportunity. These thematic districts form ‘petals’ around the centre-piece, Al Wasl Plaza, and together span more than four square kilometres. We provided a range of design services for almost every building (all permanent structures) in these districts, as well as the centre-piece itself. The districts consist of food & beverage pavillions, retail exhibition spaces for 150-180 participating countries, expo operations, event spaces, and amenities.

Pioneering concepts.

A short design/construction programme, plus challenging sustainability KPIs, and dual expo vs ‘legacy’ requirements, made for a complex and challenging project. By providing the main disciplines and specialisms we delivered a valuable unified approach. Two of our LEED APs carried out the management and operation of the Sustainability Management Plan, which was integral to the successful communication on the project and ensured at least 25% of the energy demand was met by onsite renewable sources, plus a 25% reduction in water consumption. Our clear strategies ensured maximum internal lettable areas and extensive public realms. Most importantly, we were asked to push the boundaries of design by exploring pioneering solutions such as transparent PV, kinetic energy systems, DC networks in office areas, and creating water from air. Using thermal dynamic modelling, visualisations, and VR, we assessed, proved, and demonstrated these new concepts to stakeholders at the early stages… and stayed true to the Expo’s legacy of world-changing innovation.

Key Figures
86 Pavilions with total floor area of 170,000m²
20% Energy demand reduction to achieve LEED Gold
25M visitors expected