Dezeen Magazine

Dubai Expo 2020 posponed to 2021
Es Devlin designed the UK pavilion for the postponed event

Expo 2020 Dubai postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus

Expo 2020 Dubai will take place in 2021 after Bureau International des Expositions, the body that awards and overseas World Expos, voted to postpone the event due to coronavirus.

The fair will now open on 1 October 2021 and run until 31 March 2022, but will retain the name Expo 2020 Dubai.

Located on a 438-hectare area (1083 acres) site between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the fair has been masterplanned by American architecture firm HOK.

It will feature 192 national pavilions, including Santiago Calatrava's design for the host nation and a structure by Es Devlin for the UK.

Singapore Pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020 by WOHA
WOHA designed Singapore's pavilion for the now-postponed Dubai Expo

The Singapore pavilion is being designed by WOHA while the Dutch presence is by V8 Architecture. The US pavilion, by Fentress Architects, will feature a hyperloop simulator.

The vast site will feature a trio of 21-metre-high lattice entrance gates made of carbon fibre by British architect Asif Khan.

The expo is the first to be held in the Middle East and the largest event ever planned for the Arab world. It was originally scheduled to take place from October 20 2020 until April 10 2021.

The theme of the expo is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, while the vast site will have zones dedicated to three subthemes: opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

Expo Entry Portals Dubai Expo 2020 by Asif Khan
Asif Khan's carbon-fibre Expo Entry Portals are already in place

Pavilions dedicated to the subthemes are being designed by Foster + Partners, BIG and Grimshaw.

Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) member states voted by a two-thirds majority on 4 May to postpone the event.

World Expos are held every five years. The last one was held in Milan, Italy in 2015. The 2010 expo took place in Shanghai, China. The first expo was The Great Exhibition, held in London in 1851.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation or postponement of events around the world, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Venice Architecture Biennale, both of which will now take place in 2021.

For a full rundown of events impacted by Covid-19, see the dedicated page on Dezeen Event Guide.