Hong Kong’s Ferris wheel is too small and in the wrong location

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 September, 2017, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 September, 2017, 7:15pm

I was quite embarrassed when I saw the final design and size of the Hong Kong Observation Wheel on the harbourfront.

Unlike the London Eye (135 metres tall) or the Singapore Flyer (165 metres) that tower into the sky – looking down and over buildings and views – Hong Kong’s wheel (only 60 metres) is dwarfed by the buildings surrounding it.

Apart from its incongruous scale and size when compared to the Hong Kong skyline, I wonder how many people have noticed that the blue-tinted windowed cabins on the Hong Kong wheel rotate within the structure, resulting in the wheel itself partially obstructing the views.

Having ridden on the Wiener Riesenrad in Vienna (64.75 metres) built in 1897 and the world’s tallest Ferris wheel until 1985, I wonder how the designers of the Hong Kong wheel, in 2014, made such a fundamental design flaw that was avoided in 1897 in Vienna, in 1999 in London and in 2008 in Singapore.

And finally, there is the location. Most locals and visitors would agree that the best views for such an attraction are from the Kowloon peninsula looking towards Hong Kong Island, rather than the other way around.

I recall years ago that there was a proposal to build a Ferris wheel at the far end of Ocean Terminal, which would have been spectacular and captured such amazing views.

Even a recent suggestion to locate a new wheel on the West Kowloon waterfront is more sensible.

But does Hong Kong even need a wheel? I was hopeful that the recent dispute between operators of our tiny wheel might have resulted in its removal. The fact that it suddenly stopped due to lease conditions is not as embarrassing as the wheel itself.

Surely Hong Kong can do better than Singapore with a simple attraction, by getting its location, size and design right.

Graeme Reading, Sydney, Australia