- Ain Dubai
- 250 metre(s)
- United Arab Emirates (Bluewaters)
The largest observation (ferris) wheel is the Ain Dubai, located on Bluewaters Island in Dubai, UAE. Opened on 21 October 2021, the Ain Dubai measures 250 m (820 ft) from the ground to the top of its rim. The primary contractor for the project was Hyundai Engineering and Construction, with additional work from WSP, Mace and POMA.
The Ain Dubai is more than 80 metres (262 ft) taller than the previous record holder, the Las Vegas High Roller. Located at a height of 126 m (446 ft), the Ain Dubai's central hub is only 9 m (29 ft) lower than the top of the London Eye.
As Bluewaters is an artificial island constructed from stone berms and compacted sand, the foundation pilings of the Ain Dubai had to be driven all the way down to the underlying bedrock, 35 metres below the surface.
Building the support legs and hub was a relatively simple task, however, compared to assembling the wheel itself. The 192 tensioned cables (with a total length of 2,400 km) that provide the wheel's structure and strength could only be attached once the rim was complete and in position.
This meant that the wheel had to be constructed from eight pizza-slice-shaped segments attached to the hub by rigid steel trusses and reinforced with a temporary steelwork around the rim. After each segment was added, the completed segments were jacked around 45 degrees to make room for the next piece. Turning this unbalanced and incomplete wheel required 2,500 tonnes of jacking force (24,516 kN).
It was once the wheel was completed that the slow process of attaching and tensioning the cables could begin. After the engineers were confident that this months-long process was complete, the temporary trusses and reinforcing steelwork could be removed.
The completed wheel offers views across Dubai Marina towards the skyscrapers of downtown Dubai and the towering Burj Khalifa. Each of the 48 cabins (built by French firm POMA) hold 40 people and take 38 minutes to complete a full rotation.