Ain Dubai

An eye on Dubai – world’s largest observation wheel

Through exceptional engineering and teamwork, our experienced consultants in the UAE supported the delivery of the majestic Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel.

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Ain Dubai Project summary

Client

Meraas Holding

Key partners

Hyundai

Services provided

Cost consultancy, Project and programme management, Construction management, Consultancy, Construction

Sectors

Leisure and sport, Leisure and sport

Locations

Middle East and North Africa, UAE Dubai

Project timeline

Start date
June 2013
Status
Complete
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Project story

Breath-taking. Awe-inspiring. Majestic.

There is no shortage of superlatives to describe the magnificent Ain Dubai. Located at the heart of Bluewaters Island, the world’s largest observation wheel offers a stunning view of Dubai’s skyline during both the day and night. 

Our team in the United Arab Emirates provided project management, construction management and cost consultancy services to Dubai Holding and North25 on the complex project, which opened its doors to the public on 21 October 2021.

Standing at over 250 metres tall, Ain Dubai is set to become a world-class, landmark entertainment venue within Bluewaters, Dubai’s must-visit island destination.  

Nearly twice the size of the London Eye, the project’s scale and complexity required exceptional engineering and teamwork, breaking several construction records along the way.   

Surrounded by 48 passenger cabins designed to carry a total of 1,750 passengers at once, through an approximately 38-minute rotation, the observation wheel is supported by four legs which are each 126 metres long. 
 
The hub and spindle assembly weighs 1,805 tonnes - equivalent to the weight of four A380 aircrafts - and was lifted 130m into position using two of the world’s largest cranes. The 48 cabins which surround the wheel are larger than two double-decker buses side by side, and the structure includes 11,200 tonnes of steel, which is around 33 per cent more than the amount of iron used on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  
 
As part of our strategy to mobilise the project team, the company brought in key experts with best practice experience from previous major engineering projects, such as the London Eye and The Shard. This approach enabled Mace to gain valuable insight into the contractor’s planning methodology and to find practical solutions to the engineering challenges that the project team encountered along the way.  
 
With more than nine million on-site workforce hours and an estimated five million off-site workforce hours, without serious incidents or injury, Ain Dubai builds on Mace’s track record of delivering iconic projects to the highest safety standards. 

 

Project stats

11200tonnes of steel
6.5metre spindle, 126 metre high legs
360degree views of Dubai's famous horizon

Points of note

From land to island

With Ain Dubai systematically breaking records during the project lifecycle, it will come as no surprise that its parts were too large to transport on land. The observation wheel’s hub and spindle were manufactured and assembled locally in the UAE, before being transported to Bluewaters Island by barge. The spindle has a diameter of 6.5 metres, formed of high-grade steel as used in nuclear plants for maximum strength and minimum weight.

Complex calculations

Supervised by our industry leading experts and reviewed by the third-party engineer, the Ain Dubai’s construction has redefined engineering boundaries at every stage - from design through fabrication to assembly on site. Forces, stresses and deflections of the structure are many times that of existing wheels. Thousands of load cases and combinations had to be considered and small changes in one part of the structure can mean the re-running of the huge computer calculation model for the wheel, which can take several days or even weeks to fully evaluate.

Lifting capacity

Two of the world’s largest cranes were mobilised on site – each possessing a 180-metre-long boom and a lifting capacity of over 3,000 tonnes – and tasked with setting the hub and spindle atop the Ain Dubai’s 126-metre-high legs.