High Roller is a 550-foot tall (167.6 m), 520-foot (158.5 m) diameter giant Ferris wheel, or observation wheel as they are lately called, on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, United States of America. It opened in March 2014 and is currently the world’s tallest Ferris or observation wheel.
Developed by Caesars Entertainment, the owners of almost half of the establishments on The Las Vegas Strip, this project was a signature component of The LINQ, a new $550M open-air retail, dining, and entertainment district. Designed by architectural offices The Hettema Group and Klai Juba Architects, Arup, a firm with a reputation for working on various supertall structures, was the structural engineering consultant for the project.
The LVHR structure consists of a rim, a rotating hub and fixed spindle, four support legs, and one braced leg. The rim is 469 feet in diameter and assembled from 28 segments that are bolted together. The rim is connected to the hub by 112 cable spokes made from 75mm diameter locked coil cables. The tension in these cables forces the rim to maintain its shape and keep the entire circular steel structure in compression as the rim and hub rotate around a fixed spindle on two main wheel bearings. The spindle sits 285 feet above the ground and it is mounted at each end to a pair of support legs. The east end of the spindle is also supported by a braced leg which stiffens the structure in the transverse direction. The wheel rotates on a pair of custom-designed spherical roller bearings, each weighing approximately 19,400 lb . This unique project required a massive amount of construction engineering and procedure development.
The developers and the designers wanted a sense of lightness that demanded as few structural components as physically possible. This desire guided a structural scheme with minimal visual impact, affording passengers a “floating sensation” and sense of space, which was achieved with a single rim element and single cabin support bearing. Previous observation wheels, including the London Eye and Singapore Flyer, had wider truss rims and dual cabin bearings, restricting views from the cabin and making passengers more conscious of the structure supporting them.