Al Wasl Plaza dome

ProjectAl Wasl Plaza domeLocationExpo 2020 Dubai, U.A.EManufacturersChristie, U.S.DistributorCreative Technology Middle East, U.A.E.ArchitectAdrian Smith + Gordon Gill, U.S.Lighting DesignerWoodroffe Bassett Design LLP, U.K.InstallerCreative Technology Middle East, U.A.E.AcousticianAuditoriaSubmitted byChristie

Al Wasl dome features a trellis design, with pieces of a specially made projection screen material stretched tightly between each section. This creates a 360-degree, 25,380-square-meter (273,188-square-foot) projection surface. Visible from both inside and outside, the dome’s projection surface is the largest 360-degree projection surfaces in the world.
The original design called for a laser phosphor-based projection system but was changed based on emerging Christie technology, specifically the Christie D4K40-RGB projector. Andrew Nu, Business Development, CTME, noted: “At that time, it wasn’t common to get a 40,000-lumen projector with 4K resolution in laser. We’re very lucky that the laser technology lined up with this project. With lamp-based projectors, because of servicing the lamps, it would have been an impossible project.”
The Christie D4K40-RGB pure laser projector features an all-in-one design, with no external chillers or laser racks, and it is smaller and lighter at 129 kilograms (285 pounds), than other projectors in the same class. Its design suited the limited space available to house the projectors, and with 40,000 ANSI lumens per projector, met Expo 2020’s requirements for producing a bright image suitable for broadcast.
Throughout Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Wasl Plaza dome hosted numerous events that use the 360-degree projection surface. The opening ceremony, national day celebrations, nightly shows and performances, and concerts all used projections to transform the surface of the dome and engage guests with bright, vibrant content.

A total of 252 Christie D4K40-RGB projectors were installed in 42 projector pods located around the inside perimeter of the dome. The pods, which are large enough to hold a compact car, have glass fronts, are air-conditioned and rear accessible, and protect the projectors from the weather elements in Dubai, such as heat, humidity, and dust. Each pod can hold six projectors in two stacks of three.
The primary challenge that was identified from the outset was with the engineering of the projector pods and maintaining the environment for the projectors to operate in. In addition to the mechanical and electrical systems within the pods, the projectors had to be accessible at all times. Jacobs Mace, the Delivery Management Provider, developed a complex automated racking system so that the projectors could be removed and installed in the pods as required. The technical challenges were compounded by the fact that the projector pods are attached to the trellis structure 23 meters above the ground.
Controlling the projectors is Christie Conductor, an advanced monitoring and control software solution for Christie 3DLP® projectors. It can automatically power-up or -down projectors, as well as access interrogator logs, update firmware and perform health checks.

Standing at 67.5 meters (221 feet) tall and 130 meters (427 feet) in diameter, Al Wasl dome – a stunning feat of art and engineering that features a 550-tonne steel crown – sits atop Al Wasl Plaza, the beating heart of the Expo 2020 site, and was used to host major ceremonies and celebrations.
Al Wasl Plaza played host to a slate of immersive content and experiences across the event’s six-month run, including thematic Weeks, which addressed some of the world’s most pressing issues, alongside various special events, such as New Year’s Eve and Christmas celebrations. Al Wasl also hosted national day celebrations and served as a global platform to showcase International Participants’ unique content to millions of visitors. The dome “awoke” twice daily, once in the morning and again after Maghrib, the sunset prayer. With content tailored to the time of day, projections began in the evening and delivered a magical, immersive experience that will not soon be forgotten.
The Al Wasl Plaza will continue as Expo 2020 transitions to District2020, a smart and sustainable ecosystem that brings together global minds and embraces technology and digital innovation to support industry growth. This amazing experience can be enjoyed beyond Expo!