The Greatest Space Frame Structure of All Times

Under its design & built contract, MERO was not only responsible for the design, the structural calculation and the construction, but also for the production and erection of the complete steel structure.
Resplendent in the signal red of the Scuderia, Ferrari World rises like a landmark at the center of the island. The design of Benoy Architects aimed at the creation of a building expressive of all the emotions and values which raised Ferrari to iconic status during the last five years. The dynamic, aggressive design of the roof evokes associations with the flowing lines typical for the body of a Formula-1-Ferrari.
Ferrari World is covered by a gigantic free-formed roof with a covered area comparable to that of half of the Vatican State or alternatively to 28 soccer fields.

The complete roof structure with a surface of almost 200,000 m² consists of a MERO KK space frame structure. With a total of approximately 172,000 members and 43,100 nodes, this is the largest space frame structure ever built worldwide.
The total building is composed of the individual elements funnel, shield and triforms. The so-called shield with a surface of 86,200m² is the big central structure, with a maximal diameter of 377 m. surrounded by facades. At the heart of the shield, the imposing glazed funnel catches the eye. With a total surface of 9,440 m², it measures 100 m in diameter at the point where it penetrates the roof of the shield and tapers to a diameter of 18 m at the ground level. The three open triforms of the periphery extend the central shield in star-shape and cover an area of approx. 100.000 m². Starting as mere extensions of the shield, the triforms are each split into two prongs when they reach a third of their total length, and they end in three-dimensional curving tips at a maximal distance from the shield of 284 m. The maximal distance between the tips of two triforms is 775 m.

The space frame structure itself is subdivided in double layer areas and three layer areas. The trusses themselves have been constructed as three layer space frame structures, and they have been directly integrated in the double layer roof structure, which gives the steel structure of the roof its harmonic character.
The size of the space frame grid in the area of the shield was limited to one length. This allowed a dimensioning of the individual constructive elements which was ideal from a cost-related point of view as well as with regard to installation procedures. At the same time, the generous grid size combines with the predominantly small member diameters to create the impression of a surprisingly airy structure.
At a level of 18 m to 32 m, the roof structure of the shield rests on a minimum required quantity axially positioned rows of columns. In the middle, twelve central space frame columns symmetrically surround the funnel. They have a square cross section in the bottom area and split at half height into two opposed arches which blend seamlessly into the three layer girders of the roof structure. In their final state - completely cladded - they are reminiscent of the pointed arches of medieval cathedrals.

Funnel, shield and the three triforms act statically independently. That means that the steel structure of Ferrari World is subdivided into five separate buildings.
The nodes and members of the MERO space frame system were calculated according to the procedures for structural calculations with articulated node points prescribed in the technical approval for MERO structures, based on DIN 18800. By organising the supports accordingly, it was possible to activate a biaxial load transfer and to achieve a pronounced reduction of the deformation forces in the cross sections compared to those resulting in a plane space frame structure. The consequence was a particularly lightweight and cost-optimized system.

The start of the Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi on 1 November 2009 set the deadline for the completion of the project. This led to further heavy demands on the organisation of the production, logistics and installation process.
Not unsurprisingly for a project of this enormous size, the project management had made very strict requirements regarding Health & Safety, which MERO-TSK observed and enforced with equal strictness. With more than 720,000 man hours without any working time lost due to accidents (LTI), MERO-TSK had its fair share in the nomination as "Winner of the Best Achievement in Construction Health & Safety 2008" which Aldar Properties PJSC - YAS Island Projects was awarded by SHP IOSH.
To achieve the fullest satisfaction of clients and partners by high quality solutions with a distinctive design is part of MERO-TSK's philosophy. Ferrari World is an excellent illustration of this.

The key data of this project read like a list of superlatives, and the demands on production, logistic and erection as well as the extreme deadline pressure touched on the outer limits of the technically feasible. But thanks to decades of experience in the field of elementized building systems and thanks to the absolute dedication of the whole team, MERO-TSK has once again realized a unique milestone in the history of architecture.
Photo Credits: Aldar Besix

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