Al Wasl Plaza
252 laser projectors work to project images onto the surface of Al Wasl Plaza dome Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Fondly referred to as the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Wasl Plaza is a visual marvel for the visitor for its striking scale; it's got a 130-metre-wide, 67.5-metre-tall dome that doubles as a 360-degree laser projection surface, making it the largest of its kind.

How does it work?

The dome’s trellis design allows special projection screen material to be held tightly between its lattice structure.

Two-hundred-and-fifty-two laser projectors work to splash images onto the surface of Al Wasl Plaza dome. What’s more is that these laser shows can be viewed from within the dome as well as from outside.

Al Wasl Dome
Al Wasl Plaza dome's laser projections can be viewed from the inside and outside. Image Credit: Supplied

The spectacle is powered by audio-visual tech giant Christie, Expo 2020’s official projection and display partner.

Height equal to 16 Burj Khalifas stacked 

The dome’s trellis framework is constructed entirely of steel, around 13.6 kilometres of the stuff – think the height of 16 Burj Khalifa’s stacked on top of one another. The material makes for some heavy lifting, too, at 2,544 tonnes or the weight of as many as 25 blue whales, according to Expo.

Italian contractor Cimolai Rimond weaved the trellis steelwork into the ringed logo of Expo 2020 Dubai, while Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture oversaw the design of the dome and the plaza along with its housed amenities.

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Italian contractor Cimolai Rimond weaved the trellis steelwork into the ringed logo of Expo 2020 Dubai. Image Credit: Courtesy: Expo 2020 Dubai

800-plus specialists worked on the dome

In September 2019, the last leg of the dome’s construction required utmost geometric precision – the lifting and crowning of a part of the massive trellis. With the expertise of more than 800 engineers and technicians, it took 14 months of planning to add the finishing touches to Expo’s jewel.

Why is the dome called 'Al Wasl'?

Did you know? Dubai used to go by the historical name of Al Wasl, which means ‘connection’ in Arabic. Expo’s centrepiece at the heart of the 483-hectare site derives its purpose and function from the same word.

Al Wasl Plaza
Al Wasl Plaza allows visitors to access all three Thematic Districts from the heart of the venue. Image Credit: Archives

The plaza connects the three Thematic Districts (Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity) and will be entertaining visitors pouring into the heart from all sides with projection shows, restaurants, fountains and lush parks.

Besides the districts, visitors can also access the UAE Pavilion, the brand new Route 2020 Metro Station and concourses from the plaza.

Al Wasl Plaza will continue to captivate spectators even after the exposition’s six-month run. At the centre of Expo’s future site, District 2020, the plaza will transition into a linking hub for neighbouring hotels and offices.

Dubai Expo 2020 kicks off in October.

- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.