Expo 2020 Dubai has unveiled the UAE’s latest architectural masterpiece. The Al Wasl Plaza’s dome – an iconic structure designed by Chicago-based architecture practice Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, at the centre of the next World Expo was installed today.
The dome’s 550-tonne moulded steel crown was positioned on top of the vertical trellis, an inspiring feat of precision engineering with a margin of error of only three millimetres.
The dome, the centrepiece of the Expo 2020 site, and a high profile concert venue, will form the largest 360-degree projection surface in the world.
The operation was a unique engineering challenge, according to the man responsible for its completion, Ahmed Al Khatib, chief development and delivery officer, Expo 2020 Dubai. “It was the most exhilarating day of my entire career. We had one chance to get this right,” he said.
Using GPS indicators throughout to ensure perfect alignment, 800 engineers and construction experts worked in shifts, night and day, carefully monitoring the process. Including the structures and equipment required to lift the dome during this process, the total weight stands at 830 tonnes – equivalent to 600 saloon cars.
The 130-metre-wide Al Wasl dome stands 67.5 metres tall – higher than the Leaning Tower of Pisa – and encloses a space of 724,000m3. It encircles Al Wasl Plaza, a structure that will be the heart of the Expo 2020 when the six-month celebration opens in October 2020.