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expo 2020 dubai opens huge, intricately woven entry portals by asif khan
as the site nears completion, the first images of expo 2020 dubai’s entry portals, designed by architect asif khan, have been revealed. immense in size and color, the three black gates will open to welcome millions of visitors from october 20, 2020 until april 10, 2021.
all images by hélène binet
‘the portals are the first thing you see as you approach the site, so they are a landmark at the beginning and end of your journey at expo 2020‘, explains asif khan. ‘I would like visitors to expo, especially children, to be inspired by architecture they have never seen before, and to be excited that it is part of the heritage of the region. passing through the doors represents a physical and symbolic act of moving from the past into the future.‘
in its first images, asif khan presents a futuristic adaption of the traditional mashrabiya – an intricate design used across the region to regulate light and airflow – for expo 2020 dubai’s entry portals. laced in black, the cubes simultaneously create mysterious dark voids that reveal more and more light at closer glance. the weave paints a highly patterned mural upon the blue sky whilst also casting the mirrored shadow upon the fairground, symbolizing an artful, architectural and locally inspired welcome to guests.
the three portals are woven entirely from strands of ultra-lightweight carbon-fiber composite that offers high structural strength. in fact, this enables each gate to stand at 21m high and 30m long without any additional support. each one then features two vast doors – 21m high and 10.5m wide – that will open up and welcome the world in every morning for expo 2020. these are each placed in one of the fair’s three districts – opportunity, mobility and sustainability – and, once through, will lead to tree-filled arrival courtyards also designed in collaboration with asif khan.
project name: entry portals
event: expo 2020 dubai
opening date: october 20, 2020
architect: asif khan