From October 2020 to April 2021, the City of Dubai will host the World Expo: a large-scale International Registered Exhibition that will bring nations together with universal themes and immersive experiences. It will comprise an entire new city, built on a 1,083-acre site between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The Expo site is organized around a central plaza linked to three main thematic districts, each dedicated to one of the Expo’s sub-themes: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.
SWA designed the majority of Expo 2020’s public realm, including the central garden (Al Wasl, Arabic for “the connection”), the main entry plaza, the long pedestrian loop linking the districts, and four parks. These spaces exemplify how the experience of the public realm can be enhanced while mitigating extreme climate conditions. The Al Wasl garden is protected by a domed, 65-meter-high trellis, designed by AS+GG (Architects), with whom SWA collaborated closely through the whole design process. This structure’s fabric panels shield visitors from the sun, allow free air movement, and provide a projection surface for outdoor entertainment. A central fountain mirrors the oculus of the dome and is complemented by seven additional water features, each with a different treatment, that provide respite and entertainment for visitors. The exotic and native plants of Al Wasl display a diverse array of colors and textures.
The shade structure at the Loop Boulevard (the main pedestrian spine for Expo visitor circulation) provides shelter from the sun with a design inspired by the stylized silhouettes of doves in flight, giving an airy and playful theme to the boulevard. Mature native ghaf trees (a species essential to the local ecosystem) flank the boulevard’s sides and establish a green corridor throughout the entire Expo site.
The two parks designed by SWA (Jubilee and Al Forsan), along with the Oasis and Gavath Trail, provide a rich program of attractions for the visitors, including performance spaces, playgrounds, fountains, an open air souk with SWA-designed kiosks, and restaurants. Over 50 percent of the plant species used at the parks are native.
In total, the public realm of Dubai Expo 2020 will welcome tens of millions of visitors, engaging them with striking, durable, landscape both contends with local climate and celebrates the robust species that thrive within it.
Dallas Arboretum: A Tasteful Place
A year-round “food oasis” awaits visitors at A Tasteful Place, a new edible/display garden within the Dallas Arboretum. A continuation of SWA’s Arboretum work (which includes Red Maple Rill and the Children’s Garden), A Tasteful Place provides visual and hands-on education about plants and herbs that can be used in visitors’ daily cooking and explored in...
Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre
SWA was retained to design the landscape of this mixed-use development collaboratively with Zaha Hadid Architects. It contains performing arts, hotel, residential, office and retail functions. Located adjacent to SWA’s Nanjing Youth Olympic Park, the design strives to merge architecture, the park landscape, and people at this iconic focal point. Landform...
The initial phase of this project included a master planning effort that established the locations for the convention center expansion, as well as the expansion of a 70,000-plus-seat domed NFL football stadium (Chicago Bears), and a 1200- room hotel. The expansion program called for the addition of over 900,000 square feet of exhibit space and 160,000 square f...
California Academy of Sciences
One of San Francisco’s first sustainable building projects, the California Academy of Sciences supports a stunning 2.5-acre green roof. Emphasizing habitat quality and connectivity, the project has received two LEED Platinum certifications.
The building’s architectural team, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), invited SWA Group and horticultural c...