In a clear sign of the momentum behind the UAE’s bid to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, a team of leading international architectural and design firms are preparing the masterplan for the proposed Expo 2020 site, Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali.

Upon completion, the masterplan will be included in the UAE’s bid dossier to be submitted in December 2012 to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the international organisation responsible for overseeing the bidding, selection and organisation of World Expos.

This 438-hectare site will be designed as a specialised, highly connected environment in support of the UAE’s bid to bring the Expo to the region for the first time in the event’s 160-year history. The masterplan will serve as a permanent attraction, contributing to Dubai’s long-term appeal as a premier destination for global events.

Led by architecture and design consulting firm HOK, the team includes experts with significant experience in mega-events, including the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Partner companies involved in the masterplan of the Expo site include Populous, an architectural and planning firm, and Arup, a specialist design, planning engineering consultancy practice

Thinkwell, an experiential design and development firm, has also been appointed to develop the entertainment masterplan to support the UAE’s bid. Under the bid theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” Thinkwell will bring the plans for Expo 2020 to life with a programme of shows, performances and events that will appeal to all generations, enhance the visitor experience and drive global tourist traffic to the Expo.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and the Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, said: “The UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 is articulated through our theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,’ reflecting Dubai’s unique ability to catalyse, facilitate, nurture and create connections that are sustainable, synergistic and beneficial. Those developing the masterplan will manifest our theme throughout the site, bringing the UAE’s natural role as a convener and connector to life for all Expo 2020 participants and visitors.”

“The masterplan for our proposed site for the 2020 World Expo will reflect the UAE’s focus on both connectivity and sustainability,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai World Trade Centre and Member of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai. “We will use the latest technology to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure and ensure an entertaining, educational and seamless Expo experience for global visitors and participants, while also creating a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

Widely recognised for its expertise and international track record, the project’s lead consultant, HOK, has been involved in an architectural and planning capacity with a large number of landmark projects across the globe, creating sustainable and visionary environments.

Daniel Hajjar, Senior Vice President, HOK, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed as lead consultant to oversee the development of the masterplan for Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali. Working in close cooperation with our colleagues, we look forward to developing an innovative blueprint for the Expo 2020 site – and contributing to the architectural landscape of this uniquely modern city.”

UK-based Populous has designed some of the world’s most recognisable sporting and entertainment venues, including Royal Ascot, Wembley and the Emirates stadiums and the new Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Arup has a strong Expo track record, having developed the award-winning masterplan for the Shanghai Expo 2010 with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and aided in the design of some of the most eye-catching pavilions, including those of Denmark and Singapore.

Dubai, UAE, is competing against four other candidate cities bidding to host the 2020 World Expo, including Ayutthaya (Thailand); Ekaterinburg (Russia); Izmir (Turkey); and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The winning city will be announced in November 2013 following a vote by the 160 member nations of the BIE.

Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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