Sudarshan Tourism engaged soundspacedesign with a monumental design challenge framed by the idea of inclusivity and representing the 21st Century advancement of India: the world’s tallest giant observation wheel.
As a national symbol, tourism and hospitality offering, this tour-de-force is intended to communicate India’s progress, rise in international stature, and to elevate and celebrate India’s human and technical prowess.
The brief to create an international tourism magnet and wonder-of-the-world also called for an unparalleled experience appealing to the full spectrum of India’s domestic tourism market: from day trippers to Bollywood-style weddings.
Within the fifteen year business plan is vision that saw the means by which all of India, even the poor, could experience the earth from above, to get a perspective on the world often taken for granted, without having to fly, while intellectuals and the business elite mingle in the exclusive Moon Club that centres the two wheels.
At 310 metres tall (just shy of the Eiffel Tower but 2.5 times the height of The London Eye) is the tallest giant observation wheel (GOW) ever proposed.
The Sudarshan Wheel comprises two wheels, rotating in opposing directions with the outer wheel accommodating 38 cabins for regular GOW trips and 38 special dining cabins, and the inner wheel which comprises 56 sleeping suites of the 5 star hotel’s 265 room capacity.
The wheels are supported by a gigantic arch which grounds the massive structure and provides a harmonic and somewhat classical counterpoint to more delicate spinning tracery above.
The spinning, disk-like serrated-edge weapon of the Sudarshana Chakra provides the conceptual force for the project, presenting contemporary Hindu concepts of cosmology, science and philosophy onto the global stage.
Echoing the cotton spinning-wheel symbol embraced by Mahatma Gandhi and incorporated into the Indian flag, the Sudarshan wheel is a powerful symbol deeply rooted in the Indian identity.
Mechanical and Structural Engineering by Arup
180,000 m2 of lettable area is provided for mixed-use activities including the Rotating Hotel, a Convention Centre, Entertainment & Amusement Complex, Planetarium, Business Club, Wedding Venue, hospitality, and retail.
To merge the wheel with its required 50 acre site, within the arch of its base an aquatic parkland, cricket stadium and food market are planned.
The final waterside location for the wheel still is under deliberation, with consideration being given to Mumbai; the Commonwealth Games site on the axis of Sir Edwin Luyten's Raj Path, and in Narendra Modi’s GIFT City in Gujarat.
Plan of Sudarshan Wheel complex
An audacious vision, the Sudarshan Wheel could prove to be a game-changing landmark not only for whichever city in which it sits, not only for design internationally but as a new benchmark in the provision of integrated entertainment, cultural, sporting and tourism development.
Words - Robyn Harding