British Airways i360, the tallest moving observation tower in the world, is now open for public viewing. Architects Julia Barfield and David Marks take a view from the top.
Eleven years in the making, British Airways i360 is the brainchild of architect-entrepreneurs David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects, best known as the practice that conceived and designed the world-famous London Eye. The new attraction on the seafront in Brighton, is the world’s first vertical cable car.
British Airways i360 uses state of the art cable car technology to drive the pod up and down, and uses energy to recapture technology during its descent to generate almost half of the electricity required to power its ascent.
Julia commented: “We first experienced what impact that heady mix of innovative architecture and engineering, combined with a great view of a great city, can have on the city at the London Eye. How it can be a catalyst for regeneration, breathe new life into forgotten areas and most importantly, give back to the city.
“Once you have experienced this, there is an almost irresistible urge to do it again – to drop another piece of design into the water and watch the ripples. We hope and expect that the i360 can have a similar positive effect on another great city, Brighton.”
David added: “Everyone loves a great view; it seems to be a universal desire to see the earth and its cities from exceedingly high places; it is a pleasure both to the eyes, and to the intellect, not only to gaze at horizons, but to look beyond them, and in doing so, to raise one’s sights that much higher.
“British Airways i360 is the result of a fantastic example of European cooperation. The team includes many key individuals and firms we worked with on the London Eye and it has been our privilege over the past twelve years to see the commitment, determination and enterprise with which they have turned the designs and plans into reality.
“Located at the landward end of the West Pier on Brighton beach, British Airways i360 is a modern-day ‘vertical pier’ whose purpose is simply to delight, entertain and inspire. Its design, engineering and method of construction are innovative, just as the West Pier was in its time. Visitors are invited to ‘walk on air’ and gain a new perspective on the city, just as the original pier welcomed Victorian society to ‘walk on water’.”
British Airways i360 will play an important role in the regeneration of the Regency Square seafront in Brighton. Drawing on engineering and technologies associated with cable cars and tower cranes, the design team have created an intelligent structure. While it has the London Eye as its predecessor, it is a completely unique design.
www.marksbarfield.com | Image courtesy of Visual Air