News: Dubai has won the bid to host the World Expo 2020 with a masterplan by architects HOK, beating Zaha Hadid's rival proposal for a lagoon-side park in the Turkish city of Izmir (+ slideshow).
Dubai also saw off competition from Brazilian city São Paulo and Yekaterinburg in Russia, and will become the first Middle Eastern city to host the international exhibition in its 150-year history.
"This win is a testament to the commitment of the UAE citizens to create a prosperous future for their country and region," said HOK Dubai's Daniel Hajjar. "We are proud to have led the design of the Expo site and to be associated with producing a winning entry for Dubai so that this great country can continue to boost its reputation on a global stage."
With the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", HOK's winning masterplan encompasses a 438-hectare site in south-west Dubai, close to the new Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port.
The design features three major pavilions connected by an "iconic photovoltaic fabric structure" that will provide a gigantic canopy of solar panels across the main connecting walkways.
"Dubai’s win elevates its status as a global city with world-class infrastructure and highlights its commitment to sustainable energy," said HOK president Bill Hellmuth.
The exhibition will be organised into three zones that will branch out from a central plaza modelled on the traditional Arabic marketplace, known as a souk. Larger pavilions will be positioned at the outer perimeter and smaller exhibition stands will be located nearer the centre to encourage visitors to explore the entire site.
The next upcoming edition of the world fair will take place in Milan in 2015, followed by the Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill-designed expo in Astana, Kazakhstan, in 2017. The most recent Expos held were the Yeosu Expo 2012 in South Korea and the Shanghai Expo 2010, which featured Thomas Heatherwick's Seed Cathedral.