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Construction of the three Thematic Districts completed as Expo 2020 records more than 100 million working hours on site

Construction of Expo 2020 Dubai’s petal-shaped Thematic Districts is now complete, marking one of the most significant milestones on the road to welcoming the world to the UAE for 173 days of fun, creativity and inspiration.

More than 100 million working hours have now gone into developing the site, including the completion of all shell and core works for the Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability Districts. Final building completion certificates have been received from Dubai Municipality, with all Expo-led construction on track to be completed in the year before gates open.

Built by the UAE’s Al Futtaim Construction and already landscaped with water and shading features, the districts are now ready for fitout. They form the largest built-up area of the site and include 86 low-rise buildings that will house dozens of Country Pavilions, food and beverage outlets, retail, performance spaces and leisure areas. Each district will be anchored by its own Thematic Pavilion and connected to the central Al Wasl Plaza, set to be the next iconic structure of Dubai.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The completion of the Thematic Districts is a significant milestone in our journey towards delivering an exceptional Expo, including worldclass design, as part of the UAE leadership’s vision to always achieve the highest standards and to show the world the spirit and creativity of our nation.”

Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “This is the year of delivery, and the completion of the three Thematic Districts is a major construction landmark to be celebrated as we prepare to welcome the world in less than 520 days. It’s exciting to see the site evolve every day, and despite the pace of progress, we remain committed to quality and worker welfare.”

Designed by Hopkins and Partners, the Thematic Districts evoke old Dubai, with façades resembling traditional Emirati wind towers and walkways lined with flora indigenous to the UAE. They incorporate a host of innovative features, including smart shading, solar cells and moisture capturing mechanisms, as well as an enormous basement under each district, which will be used for seamless logistics during the event and parking post event.

All Expo 2020-built structures are designed to achieve at least LEED Gold certification, the globally recognised standard of sustainable architecture, which is in line with Expo’s commitment to leaving a sustainable, meaningful legacy. More than 80 per cent of the Expo-built environment will live on after the event as part of District 2020, an integrated mixed-use community.

The next major Expo 2020 construction milestone is the completion of Al Wasl Plaza’s massive domed trellis, which will act as a huge 360-degree projection screen and is scheduled for completion in June.

The Dubai Metro Route 2020 extension, which will link Expo 2020 to the rest of the emirate, the three DEWA substations that will power the 4.38 sqkm site and other key water, sewage and telecommunications infrastructure, including the 2.2 km road  network, have already been completed. Ongoing construction of the Thematic Pavilions, the Dubai Exhibition Centre, and Expo Village is progressing as planned.

Expo 2020 expects to attract 25 million visits between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021, with 70 per cent of visitors projected to come from outside the UAE – the largest proportion of international visitors in the 168-year history of World Expos. More than 200 participants, including countries, corporations, multinational organisations and educational institutions, will gather to explore Expo 2020’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

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