At the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, a cultural landmark is a thrilling brand experience like no other and a multi-sensory honoring of a design icon – Ferrari World –  the world’s first Ferrari Theme Park. The bold and innovative design of this iconic theme park pays homage to the Ferrari brand. Benoy Architect’s revolutionary design reflected the celebrated sinuous form of the Ferrari GT chassis with the carmaker’s signature color and double curves. Ensuring sustainability, Benoy Architects applied an insulated metal skin roof and glass specifically designed to reduce thermal loads and glare. As the world’s largest indoor theme park, it is one of the greatest architectural achievements in the world. 

In October 2010, the Italian carmaker, Ferrari, unveiled a new amusement park: a park of extreme speed. It is the world’s largest roofed theme park and features an F1 circuit. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi accurately portrays the entire history of the “Cavallino Rampante” (“prancing horse”), offering fans every kind of attraction related to the brand. Located on the island of Yas, United Emirates, it took Benoy Architects only three years to build this marvel, in a terrain where the temperatures rise above forty degrees celsius and where there was nothing but sand earlier. It’s not the only time carmakers had rides in amusement parks: In Germany, Mercedes Benz has a roller coaster in Europa Park, which uses all the technology they’ve developed for F1, although this is the first time an entire park is dedicated to a single brand.

An Architectural Review of Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi - Sheet1
Ferrari World_©InterPark

Location

The dreamy park is just ten minutes away from Abu Dhabi’s international airport, about a half-hour from the city and near the island’s new Formula 1 circuit, adjacent to the tightest curve and the desert. The bright red of the Ferrari against the sandy background of Yas brings in a unique contrast. The stunning island of Yas sits in front of the city of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It houses several attractions, among them are international Formula 1 circuit, luxe hotels, theme parks, marinas, and a golf course.

An Architectural Review of Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi - Sheet2
Ferrari World_©Wikipedia

Concept

The design was conceived as a simple structure bound to the land. The three-pointed star houses the inner levels, with three claws extending from those points to build the attraction outside the enclosed space. The outer skin of the structure was inspired by the sinuous double curve of the classic Ferrari bodywork, for which the 3D designs played a key role. According to the architecture firm, Ferrari World is the “spiritual center” of Yas.

Construction

The one-of-a-kind theme park is owned by Aldar Properties PJSC, one of the key investor companies of Abu Dhabi. Benoy Architects were the architects of the groundbreaking project. Jack Rouse Associates undertook the design and construction of the major attractions. This is the first theme park to be built entirely indoors and the world’s first for Ferrari. It extends across a whopping 86,000 square meters accessible to visitors. The park’s striking red roof was inspired by the classic double curve of Ferrari’s GT line, spanning 200,000 square meters and holding the biggest logo ever built for Ferrari, at 65 by 48 meters. The double curve was proportionately executed in the elevation, to adjust the length of the building (700 meters) and its height (45 meters), adding to the dynamic scale of the landmark construction. The center of the roof drops to meet the floor level, like an illuminated glass window in the form of a tunnel. The roofing was formed from a base of steel with strong insulation, and for the main façades (29,000 square meters) processed glass has been employed to minimize the thermal load and glare. 100,000 cubic meters of cement was poured into the slabs to build the park. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi features the biggest steel frame structure ever built, with about twelve-thousand-three-hundred –and seventy tons of structural steel. 39,000 square metres of grass was grown around the roller coasters.

Formula Rossa

Among the several attractions can be found: Formula Rossa, a roller coaster offering the same G-force that is felt driving an F1 racing car, with speeds of more than 200 kilometers per hour, and accelerations and braking characteristics of a single-seater. The wagons mimic the single-seaters of Formula 1 and the route is 2.07 kilometers. This is the fastest roller coaster ride on the planet.

Formula Rossa_©Wikiemirati

Fiorano GT Challenger

The park’s second roller coaster features wagons that have the same characteristics and shape as the Ferrari F430.

G-Force Tower

The 60-meter high “G-Force Tower” is one of the most impressive attractions, one of the most intense “free-fall” experiences in the world. A G-force of 1.7G is very similar to what the Formula 1 drivers overcome when in their cars during the Grand Prix. The ride is found in the center of the park.

Author

Sowmya is an architectural journalist and writer. In this column, Sowmya takes you through stories on eco-architecture, biophilic design, and green buildings from across the globe.

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