Cityscape 2017, Cityscape Global, Dubai District 2020, Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai’s District 2020 could be delivered six to nine months after Expo

District 2020 could be delivered within half a year of Expo 2020 Dubai’s conclusion, according to the event’s organisers.

Marjan Faraidooni, senior vice president of legacy impact and development at Expo 2020 Dubai, estimates that the transition will take six to nine months to complete.

District 2020 represents a key component of Dubai’s strategy to reuse 80% of Expo 2020’s site infrastructure following the world’s fair.

From Q4 2021, the development will become the post-exhibition home of many of Expo 2020’s main structures and spaces.

Speaking to Construction Week on the sidelines of Cityscape Global 2017, Faraidooni said that all of the buildings that are to be integrated within District 2020 have been designed with dual purposes in mind. The majority of works conducted during the transitionary period will involve the repurposing of existing structures and the dismantling of those that are not intended for long-term use.

In reference to planned District 2020 works, which are due to commence as soon as Expo 2020 has ended, Faraidooni said: “It’s mostly a transition period of repurposing: to remove and dismantle whatever exhibitors were there, and to allow for the future tenants to come in and fit-out the core-and-shell space.

“We’re looking for a period of between six to nine months to do that transitioning,” she added.

Located in the heart of Dubai South, the 2km2 District 2020 legacy project will feature 135,000m2 of commercial space, 65,000m2 of residential space, 45,900m2 of parkland, and 10km of cycling tracks. All of the community’s buildings will meet or exceed LEED Gold standards.

Elements that will be repurposed following the universal exposition include the UAE Pavilion; Al Wasl Plaza, which will continue to be used as a venue for performances and events; the Sustainability Pavilion, which will be transformed into a Children and Science Centre; and the Mobility Pavilion, which will become a commercial office space, and could accommodate a ‘small institution’.

District 2020 will also retain Expo 2020’s conference and exhibition centre, which is being developed by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Additional underground parking will be constructed to meet the long-term needs of the development’s permanent community.

The concept of legacy has been designed into all of the built assets that will be reused following the conclusion of Expo 2020, according to Faraidooni.

“Everything that we are looking to [build,] we’ve always looked at it from two dimensions,” she explained. “How is that space accommodating for the visitors who are coming through, and what will it be used for after the Expo? It’s been a great challenge […] but, fortunately, we’ve been working very well with our real estate team, and with our designers and architects, to ensure the flexibility of these structures.

“For example, the thematic petals: they are designed to accommodate residential space in addition to commercial space. And what’s unique about [the petals] is that they’re designed for flexibility. That really works towards what our strategy is: to attract all sizes of companies – the small ones and the big ones. [It means we] can accommodate a 14m2 one-man or -woman show, but it can also be up to 5,000m2.”

The transition from Expo 2020 to District 2020 will also involve the disassembly of several temporary structures, including the Opportunity Pavilion and the pavilions of participating countries.

In keeping with Expo 2020’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, District 2020 will be situated at the junction of four major highways, adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport.

The site’s transition from Expo 2020 to District 2020 will begin as soon as the world’s fair draws to a close, with work scheduled to commence on 11 April, 2021.