Expo 2020 officially opened in Dubai on 1 October. Like so many other premium celebrations, it is being held a year later than it was supposed to be, delayed by Covid-19. Themed ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,’ the first major international event ever to be held in the Middle East will until 31 March 2022 exhibit proposals for development and innovation that the participating nations and organizations have set up on the premises, in the spirit of strengthening ties and confronting current challenges together.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the formation of the United Arab Emirates, this World Expo is taking place in a booming area in the south of the capital, Dubai, well connected to Al Maktoum International Airport and the duty-free zone of the city’s harbor. Under the masterplan drawn up by the US firm HOK, the grounds are organized in three large theme districts which unfurl like flower petals around Al Wasl Plaza, a huge central hub covered with a semispheric trellis that has a diameter of 150 meters, a work of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.
Sustainability, mobility, and opportunity were the guiding threads established by the organization to conceptualize the Expo. Each of these three leitmotivs has its own pavilion at the center, designed by Grimshaw, Foster+Partners, and AGi, respectively. Around them, avenues shaded against the desert climate by pergolas lead to 200 national exhibitions; this is the first time in Expo history that every country brings its own building.
The Madrid team Amann-Cánovas-Maruri (Temperaturas Extremas Arquitectos) designed the Spain Pavilion, a bioclimate-inspired play of light cone-shaped structures located in the Sustainability district of the premises. It welcomes proposals that Spanish companies wish to make to contribute to society and future projects, and puts special emphasis on the traditions and heritage received from Arab culture.