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First images revealed for Asif Khan's gigantic entry portals at Expo 2020 Dubai
United Arab Emirates Architecture News - Feb 11, 2020 - 16:03 1000 views
Captured by architecture photographer Hélène Binet, Khan's portals will be situated at the entrance to each of the three Thematic Districts - entitled "Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability".
The three portals will be the gateways to the world’s greatest show Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest event ever to be held in the Arab World. Expo 2020 Dubai opens its doors on October 20, 2020 and will be on view until April 10, 2021 under the theme of "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future."
Regarding the gateways to Expo 2020 Dubai, British architect Asif Khan created three spellbinding entry portals, where doors becomes metaphors, gateways and transitional points that are equal parts design genius and philosophical back story.
The portals will be the first sight to greet millions of visitors from around the world as they arrive at the 4.38 sqkm site. His design presents three stark, stunning, perception-shifting entryways to the expansive event site that will create different experiences depending on the time of day, inventively playing with light and myriad shadows.
For the portals, Khan is inspired by "Arabic mashrabiya architecture", the portals comprise a structure that is at once a series of two-dimensional planes as well as a three-dimensional geometric configuration – resembling the Expo 2020 logo when viewed from the correct angle.
"The transcendental play on light, shadow and space is meant to convey to visitors that the world within the Expo gates is entirely different to that outside," stated the Expo 2020 Dubai.
"The time before you enter the site is your past, while the time at Expo 2020 is your – and, in a broader sense, everyone’s – future, brimming with exciting anticipation."
"The portals will be the first and last encountering moment for all who make the journey to Expo 2020 Dubai, and these capture the very transcendental moment the region is experiencing as it hosts its first World Expo – the celebration not only of UAE’s heritage but also the future," said Asif Khan.
Each portal has 21-metre-tall doors and they are 30-metre long. Featuring two vast doors, which measure 21 meters high and 10.5 meters wide, the doors will be opened to visitors every morning of the 173 days of Expo 2020 Dubai. The portals will lead visitors to courtyards which are also designed by Asif Khan.
When opened each morning, they will represent a symbolic act of Expo 2020’s doors being literally thrown open to the world. When visitors leave, those same doors will lead back to the ‘regular’ world, enticing visitors to return to Expo 2020 another day.
The portals are as remarkable from an engineering standpoint as they are visually. Using a unique process, high-grade carbon fibre and resin was spun into strands so fine they could circumnavigate the world 5,000 times over if laid end to end. Yet those strands retain the structural strength to support a four-wheel-drive vehicle (should the need arise).
"Designing the Public Realm for Expo 2020 Dubai is a seminal moment for my practice; each aspect of the design invites visitors to immerse themselves in shared Islamic culture, art and language in dialogue with the future spirit of Expo," added Khan.
"As visitors explore the many facets of the Public Realm designs, from the Expo Entry Portals to the seating I made with Lara Captan, I hope it leaves them with an unforgettable sense and experience of place."
The three portals will be complemented by a different entry plaza with themed flora and features to further welcome visitors.
Client: Expo 2020 Dubai
Design: Asif Khan
Structural Engineer: Calin Gologan
Manufacturer: Ha-Co Carbon GmbH
All images © Hélène Binet
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