Construction update released as Dubai Arena nears 2019 launch
Engineering and construction details of much-awaited entertainment scheme revealed
The façade of the highly anticipated Dubai Arena has been completed, with the project on track to open in 2019. In a project update released on 4 November 2018, developer Meraas said the “active-lit” panelled façade structure of Dubai Arena is fully installed, with work under way on external infrastructure, landscaping, paving, and parking spaces for the project, which will be MENA region’s largest all-purpose, air-conditioned indoor arena.
Among the project’s major milestones include the completion of its roof and façade steel structure, with 80% of the roof catwalks (elevated service platforms) also ready. All concrete, structural, and block works have been completed, with seat installation now under way for the project, on which UAE-headquartered main contractor ASGC is working.
Dubai Arena’s roof structure weighs almost 4,000 tonnes (t), which is equivalent to the weight of seven Airbus A380 planes, the immensely popular aircraft in the Emirates airline’s fleet. The roof is supported by two 120m-long “mega-trusses” that span the length of the venue. Meraas said in its statement that the mega-trusses’ construction and lifting was “considered among the most challenging processes”, adding that it used some of the world’s biggest cranes – with a capacity of 1,600t – to lift them into place.
Each mega-truss comprises 14 frames that were connected with 16,000 bolts, and more than 20t of paint was used for this element’s coating job.
Installation of the arena’s rigging equipment, scoreboards, lighting, and sound systems will begin next month. “Finishing touches” are being made to the first of 46 hospitality suites at Dubai Arena, the City Walk destination that will have a capacity of 17,000 spectators. More than 110t of show and production equipment will be placed over the arena’s viewing areas.
Lifts and escalators have been installed for the project, with electrical and mechanical works progressing as planned. District cooling provider Empower is due to begin tunnelling works under Sheikh Zayed Road to connect 3,600t of chilled water to the structure, with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority already supplying power to the building. In its progress update, Meraas said the roof of Dubai Arena will be “completed and made watertight” before the end of this year, following which final acoustics checks will commence.
Commenting on the project, HE Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman at Meraas, said: “Every city is known for something – but few, if any, can compare to Dubai when it comes to leisure and entertainment experiences. Dubai Arena has been designed to enhance the city’s reputation as a destination for world-class events and hospitality and will transform the industry throughout the Middle East.”
Venue management firm AEG Ogden, which also provided design and technical input during the project’s construction, will manage the day-to-day operations of Dubai Arena. The Australian company’s portfolio includes the O2 in London, Staples Centre in Los Angeles, and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
“We are confident that Dubai Arena will position the city on the international entertainment touring circuit and the audiences will have the opportunity to witness the world’s most talented performers and sporting events in the heart of Dubai,” Al Habbai continued.
“Dubai Arena will also ensure Meraas and its partners are in a strong position to be able to continue setting new benchmarks in leisure and entertainment regionally, while contributing to the emirate’s continued development as a major tourism destination and boosting the city’s appeal as a place to live, work and visit among residents and tourists.”