Exclusive Preview: EXPO 2020 DUBAI

With one year to go until Expo 2020 Dubai, which will open its doors on October 1st, 2021, striking new images show the advanced state of readiness across site. Organisers are committed to convening the global community in a spirit of collaboration, innovation and pursuit of optimism in the face of adversity.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, comments: “Our World Expo has a mission to inspire hope, and in the coming weeks we will begin to share new details and ideas about space, health and wellness, travel and connectivity and other subjects that sit at the heart of this Expo… and in 365 days we will share our excitement and our passion with millions.”

The first World’s Fair took place in 1851 at London’s Crystal Palace. Telescopes, the world’s biggest diamond, daguerreotypes and pay toilets were some of main attractions. The event has been the reason for many impressive feats, perhaps the most famous being the Eiffel Tower, which was constructed for the 1889 fair in Paris.

Expo 2020 will take place in Dubai from 1st October 2021 until 31st March 2022, under a theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” The numbers are impressive: 4.38 square kilometers of event space, 190+ participating countries, 25 million visitors expected. Over 60 live events per day will include live performances, site-specific artworks as well as design- and craft- workshops.

The Expo site is divided into three themed districts: Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity. The Dubai Metro Route 2020 will take 46,000 passengers per hour to and from the Expo site in under 16 minutes from Dubai Marina.


Woven entirely from strands of ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre composite that lend incredible structural strength, British architect Asif Khan revealed that the portals have taken three years to develop and were designed as a futuristic adaptation of the traditional mashrabiya.

“The portals are the first thing you see as you approach the site, so they are a landmark at the beginning and end of your journey at Expo 2020,” said Khan, who described them as his best work yet. “I would like visitors, especially children, to be inspired by architecture. Passing through the doors represents a physical and symbolic act of moving from the past into the future.”

21 metres high and 10.5 metres wide, the portals will be opened every morning of the 173 days of Expo 2020 in a symbolic act of welcoming the world.


Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Al Wasl Plaza (meaning “the connection”) will sit in the middle, featuring a 150m diameter dome that can be transformed into a gigantic immersive projection screen. The structure is now ready and promises to become one of the most notable buildings in Dubai.


The pavilion aims to illuminate the ingenuity and possibility of architecture as society looks to intelligent strategies for sustainable future living.

Drawing inspiration from complex natural processes like photosynthesis, the dynamic form of the pavilion is in service to its function, capturing energy from sunlight and fresh water from humid air.

As the sunshine in the desert can be overwhelming, the walkways of the area are punctuated by funnel-line metallic structures, meant to create shade like palms in an oasis.


The Mobility Pavilion, designed by the award-winning Foster + Partners, features the world’s largest passenger lift, which will transport 160+ people at a time. The pavilion also stars a partly underground, partly open-air 340-metre track for you to see cutting-edge mobility devices in action.


The Opportunity Pavilion, designed by AGi Architects, builds on the rich urban history of the “plaza” and its universal significance as a place for people to connect across age, language and culture, to celebrate our shared human experiences.