The final piece of the dome that sits atop the Expo 2020 site’s Al-Wasl Plaza has been put in place.

Designed by US-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the dome’s trellis crown was installed on 18 September, marking a significant milestone in the Expo’s construction timeline.

The steel crown was positioned directly on the base structure using the strand-jacking technique. It was lifted by 18 hydraulic cranes aided by steel lifting ropes connected to 18 freestanding temporary columns.

“It was really exciting because this was a moment we all have waited for,” said Ahmed al-Khatib, chief development and delivery officer at Expo 2020 Dubai. “I believe this is the first time in the world that such a structure has been lifted using this special technique.”

Nearly 800 people were involved in the task and GPS indicators were used to precisely align the crown on the trellis structure. The total weight lifted, including the temporary supporting equipment, was nearly 830 tonnes.

The crown will be welded to the rest of the dome structure over the next 25 days.

An international venture

The construction of the Al-Wasl dome involved both local and international players.

The raw steel for the trellis was sourced from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. The steel was shaped into curves by companies based in Belgium, Germany and Spain, before being moulded into its latticing in Italy by Cimolai Rimond.

The steel trellis was shipped in batches to Dubai by DP World, Expo 2020’s Premier Global Trade partner.

Expo 2020’s official programme delivery management provider, Jacobs Mace, worked on the overall project management. Companies from the US, Canada, China, France, Japan and Mexico also played key roles in the completion of the dome.

The Al-Wasl dome encloses the Al-Wasl Plaza, which will be a focal point of the Expo 2020 event. The dome will serve as a 360-degree, translucent projection surface, the largest of its kind in the world.

After the Expo, Al-Wasl Plaza will be retained as part of District 2020, where it will serve as an event venue.

Quick facts about the crowning:
  • The dome’s steel crown weighs 550 tonnes
  • The total weight lifted during the strand-jacking process was 830 tonnes
  • There was a margin of error of only three millimetres during the positioning of the crown
  • The dome depicts a 3D visualisation of the Expo 2020 logo
  • More than 10 countries have been involved with the project, including the UAE, US, Mexico, Canada, Poland, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, China and Japan
  • The complete dome trellis is 67.5 metres tall and 130 metres wide
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