Nov. 10, 2009 | Niki May Young
Ever since Enzo Ferrari made his competitive debut as a racing driver in 1919 his name has roused awe amongst generations of auto-enthusiasts. More than seventy years after the first cars by the entrepreneurial Italian were conceived in 1937 Ferrari has developed into much more than a car manufacturer…Ferrari is the essence of speed, a multi-billion dollar brand, and a must-have for rising playground for the rich - Abu Dhabi.
Currently under construction in the UAE capital’s Yas Island entertainment district, also home to the new Formula 1 race track and Yas Hotel, is Ferrari World – the world’s largest indoor theme park with an enclosed footprint of 100,000 sq m. Seven football pitches long from tip to tip, the tri-form is an extreme building for extreme entertainment encompassing two roller coasters which will push the limits at 200kph and a 60metre high G-Force Tower which is designed to create one of the ‘most intense freefall experiences in the world’.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the bearer of many spectacular statistics. The 201,000 sq m roof, which will show Ferrari World as the centrepiece of Yas Island to those passing in aeroplanes above, contains enough aluminium to cover 16,750 Ferrari’s or, alternatively, the Vatican City in Rome. And if the building was put on end, it would be the world’s tallest building with 300 stories.
But Ferrari World’s design is not simply about scale. Ferrari’s President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has developed a focus on architecture across the brand, commissioning showroom designs from the likes of Piano, Visconti, Fuksas and Nouvel. Ferrari and Aldar Properties employed the well-established design talents of international firm Benoy to design the ground-breaking Ferrari World development which has now reached an advanced stage of construction in line with its expected opening next year.
Releasing these extraordinary images, which show the true scale of the project as the exterior body is complete, Benoy talked of a clear inspiration for the project: “Externally the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi building expresses the language and values of the Ferrari brand itself. Benoy’s vision - to create a building that reflects Ferrari’s sinuous form, is directly inspired by the classic double curve side profile of the Ferrari GT chassis. The double curve was proportionately applied in elevation to set the structure’s length and height. This proportion gave rise to the dynamic scale of the building at 700 metres from tip to tip of the tri-forms.”
As expected, the spectacle is not limited to the project’s exterior and the ‘Grand Funnel’ which acts as the adjunction point for the three spokes, also functions as the main point of architectural interest. The fully glazed funnel is latticed with a spider system that floats over the Mero space frame within, creating a floor to ceiling light well of over 100 m in diameter. The building has capacity for 15,000 people to experience the Ferrari-themed rides which surround the centerpiece.
When Ferrari World completes next year, it will mark a four year transformation of Yas Island from an untouched ‘featureless wilderness’ into a landmark entertainment district to rival the extreme development of Dubai.