Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi is the World’s only Ferrari theme park. Sixty of our engineers worked on the four-year project and were involved in every aspect of the park's unique design from concept to completion.
The leisure oasis of Yas Island is 25 sq km in area, with a beach front shoreline of some 30km. This is the home of the vast theme park as well as a retail complex and Formula One racetrack.
The theme park project was driven by its fast track design and construction programme, and using our engineers and specialists across Ramboll's network of offices, we provided a responsive service that ensured that the tight programme challenges were met.
Our early involvement with the theme park focused on the schematic design of its 90,000 sq m roof. Below the roof are three concrete frame levels — the undercroft at ground level, a mezzanine and the Plaza level, where most of the Ferrari-themed attractions are located. Columns are set on a grid of 10.75m x 8.65m, matching the piling grid below. This supporting structure takes the weight of the 19 separate steel frame buildings that house the rides.
While the lower part of the structure is open to the air, the Plaza level is enclosed. Our façade engineers worked on this and the glass funnel at the centre of the roof. Two sets of huge rollercoasters are located at the roof's extremities and we are engineering their foundations and station buildings.
Ferrari World theme park is a central feature of the Yas Island leisure oasis. Our building services engineers worked on concept design for the project and have further liaised with the theme park designers over detail design, helping to insure the integrity of the concept through to completion.
Our brief involved the park’s internal spaces — an area of some 200,000 sq m accommodating an array of Ferrari-themed attractions at Plaza level. At 45 MVA, the power requirement is significant. Co-ordinating closely with the local authority, we developed a robust solution that incorporates a chain of substations to ensure continuity of supply and protect existing infrastructure from any undue pressure.
Ventilation design for the scheme faced the specific local challenges of high temperatures and concentrations of sand in the air, as well as increased humidity caused by indoor water rides. Our solution uses low-level outlets for both displacement cooling and ventilation. Internal temperature control is further supplemented by a slab cooling system that uses chilled water available from Abu Dubai’s existing district cooling system.
The fast track programme was the key driver in engineering the plaza level façade of the Ferrari World theme park. A modular unitised system accelerated construction while being economical, simple and effective.
The external façade slopes outward and graduates in height from 20m to 12m. Prefabricated glass panels with aluminium frames have been set within steel trusses every 10m. Double trusses and movement joints were introduced following the joint location in the slab because of Abu Dhabi’s seismic and thermal issues.
A steel frame forms the basis of the 30m high, 100m diameter funnel-shaped roof glazing around a ride in the centre of the plaza. A secondary aluminium unitised frame holds the glass panels in place. Repetition of the panels, all around 2m x 2m in size, minimised manufacture, transport and handling costs. Steel bracings spiral up the funnel giving the impression of an opening flower.
Solar radiation studies were conducted using software that calculates the amount of energy heating façades based on daily sun positions. This was used to determine the optimal shape and position of louvres to shade or reduce glare. A series of these fitted to the external façade resemble the front grill of a Ferrari. Folded triangular plates are fitted to the top of the funnel, which receives the most extreme radiation.
Our building services team used the solar studies to optimise energy use throughout the year. Our façade engineers assisted with wind pressure and wind tunnel testing.
fire & safety
Ramboll provided a full range of engineering services for the design of Ferrari World – the enclosed F1 theme park in Abu Dhabi. One of Yas Island’s central features, the park has 25 rides and attractions under its 200,000 sq m iconic roof and a maximum capacity for 12,000 occupants. Using National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, our fire engineers undertook a 'Life Safety Evaluation' to determine and optimise the park’s fire strategy.
Detailed computer analysis mapped the movements of people under normal and emergency conditions to help identify evacuation routes and perimeter exits. A fire management plan was formed to ensure controlled departure from rides and buildings with the assistance of trained staff and a voice alarm system. Results from modelling confirmed the predicted time taken to clear the building is more than ample to satisfy compliance requirements.
Ferrari World’s complex structure demanded a customised approach to smoke management. A combination of hand calculations, zone modelling and computational fluid dynamics demonstrated the vast 40m high enclosure should be treated as ‘external space’. Analysis proved a smoke-free layer could be maintained to allow safe evacuation of the population and access for fire-fighters. The internal buildings have mechanical ventilation to discharge smoke into the enclosed volume, where it will vent naturally through the roof.
Structural fire analysis confirmed the steel roof supports are adequate to provide 60 minutes of fire resistance, but additional protection was specified where columns punched through the plaza and mezzanine floors. An automatic sprinkler system is installed throughout the park – except in the roof area where it could adversely affect the smoke management design. Landing valves, hose reels and extinguishers are provided for fire fighting and externally, there is a standpipe system with inlet bridge connections at access points. Hydrants are located strategically along the perimeter access road.