Masterplan for Expo 2020 site unveiled
HOK-led design team uses photovoltaic fabric to power site
The architecture firm has worked alongside Populous and Arup on the designs for the 438-hectare site, which is on the southwestern edge of Dubai in Jebel Ali, near the new Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port.
HOK's design features three separate pavilions symbolizing opportunity, sustainability and mobility, with “innovation pods” and “best practice areas” in each themed zone.
These three zones emanate from a central plaza named the Al Wasl, a historical name for Dubai meaning "the connection".
Inspired by the layout of a traditional Arabic "souk," or marketplace, the design places larger pavilions to the perimeter while clustering smaller exhibit spaces toward the center of the site.
The site has been designed to very high standards of sustainability, with a photovoltaic fabric structure covering the main walkways, and acting as a solar-powered sun shade that will generate at least half of the site's energy requirements.
At night, the fabric will form an illuminated display of lights and digital projections.
Other sustainable methods will include the reuse of materials and recycling of wastewater.
"This is a well-deserved honor for the UAE," said Tim Gale, director of planning for HOK in London. "With its mixture of education, innovation and entertainment, the plan reflects the wonderful qualities of Dubai and the form and spirit of a World Expo."
To support the Dubai Expo 2020, the UAE is expected to award an estimated $35bn in construction and other supplier contracts in 2014.