Yas Waterworld heralds a triumph of innovation in design for Atkins. The first hybrid park of its kind, it has evolved the water park into an adventure attraction complete with questing adventures and an interactive rollercoaster normally associated with theme parks. Spreading across more than 11 hectares, the park features 43 rides, slides and attractions set among caves, mountains, rivers and beaches, including four unique ‘world’s first’ rides and activities. The project involved considerable technical challenges with many rides and complicated special effects requiring sophisticated MEP designs, not least because the 55.2km of pipework and 20.2km of cabling had to be located almost entirely underground to prevent interference with rides and the visitors’ enjoyment of the park.
Yas Island already comprises the Formula 1 Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World and Yas Links golf course supported by five hotels and serviced apartments. Yas Waterworld is now an integral part of Yas Island’s entertainment portfolio and is the newest tourism destination for Abu Dhabi, drawing in regional and international crowds. As architects, theme designers and engineers on the park, Atkins’ teams from the UK and Middle East celebrated their contribution when it opened in January 2013.
Atkins was commissioned to plan, design and deliver the project, with a key remit to maximise sustainable design standards throughout the park in order to achieve an Estidama Pearl One sustainability rating. By pairing advanced technology with exceptional planning and engineering, our design reduced energy use and water consumption. The project involved detailed design work, such as the Pearl Crag mountain which required hundreds of tonnes of hand carved rockwork and 1.2 million kilograms of supporting steelwork, all of which were modelled in 3D and then interwoven with the rest of the park. The design evolved from concept in close collaboration with Aldar and Farah Leisure and took into account the critical nature of construction work sequencing, time allowance for theming completion, and continuity of design; and it was vitally important that throughout all the planning and delivery stages, sustainability remained a key consideration.
Atkins design ensured native, low water use landscaping was employed throughout with a subsurface irrigation strategy to minimise evaporation loss. Specialist aquatic filters, on-site chlorine generation and extensive use of shade all contributed to a sustainably constructed and operated theme park. During the build process, the Atkins team implemented a strategy for diverting more than 60% of constructional and operational waste from landfill and made use of an advanced Building Management System (BMS) that enabled full control of 90% of the rides aquatic systems providing early identification of any unforeseen problems. An integrated energy metering system monitors energy consumption of the facilities and using orientation, insulation and shade has reduced the total energy required for cooling by 18%. Atkins was responsible for architecture, theme design, landscape, the MEP, structural engineering, infrastructure, acoustics, ICT and security, and overall site supervision on the project.
The project won a Leading Edge award from the World Waterpark Association (WWA) in 2012, Overall GCC Project of the Year at the MEP Awards 2012, the Middle East's Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards in 2013, and was voted the second best themed waterpark in the world by the Los Angeles Times in 2013.