Al Wasl Dome Expo 2020
Words by Bailey de Vries
Since 1889 when the Exposition Universelle in Paris featured the Eiffel Tower, Expos have left a lasting mark on their host cities. Examples in the United States include Seattle’s Space Needle and the Unisphere in New York City (Queens).
Expo 2020 Dubai continues this tradition of innovative architecture with the Al Wasl Dome, the world’s largest unsupported dome, and largest 360-degree projection surface. Expanding outward from the dome’s central axis point, 192 pavilions, unique to each participating nation, sculpt three districts: Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity.
Al Wasl is the historical name for Dubai, meaning “connection” in Arabic. Considered an architectural marvel, the intricate trellis of the Al Wasl dome, which encloses the Al Wasl Plaza, is a 3D visualization of the Expo 2020 logo and comprises 13.6 kilometers of steel. It was originally divided into 1,162 individual sections that were then welded together into 600 elements in factories in Italy and Abu Dhabi. At 130 meters wide and 67.5 meters tall, the dome weighs a total of 2,544 tons – as much as 25 blue whales.
I learned that the crowning of the Al Wasl dome was the culmination of 14 months of preparation, beginning on June 26, 2018. It is not only an engineering and technological feat but also an epitome of collaboration, which brought pieces and people from different parts of the world together to execute a marvelous piece of architecture, design and advancement.
Witnessing presentations and projected graphics from within the dome has been one of the most fascinating immersive art experiences I’ve ever seen, and it’s one I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
For those of you who are interested in checking out the next World Expo you can catch it in Osaka – Kansai, Japan in 2025!
Photo Cred – Junell Cornejo