Welcome Aboard to the British Airways i360

Published on: 05-08-2016

Will the new tallest observation tower in Brighton uphold Marks Barfield Architect’s reputation after their iconic London Eye project?

British Airways i360 ©
British Airways i360 ©

Designed by Julia Barfield, from Marks Barfield Architects, and set to be as iconic as their preceding project, the London Eye, the 170m tall British Airways i360 tower along with a new heritage centre has recently opened its doors to becoming the newest landmark on the coast of Brighton.

Envisioned as the world’s first vertical cable car by the team who designed the London Eye in 2000, the futuristic glass viewing pod will take visitors 450ft off the ground to enjoy an amazing panoramic view of the Sussex coast.

Brighton has been deemed to have the most varied and unique landscape complete with scenic chalk cliffs, grand architecture, labyrinthine streets of the city and wild expanses of the National Park. The spacious, aerodynamically shaped pod of the i360 will allow visitors to experience this incredible British landscape with plenty of space to move around for different views and even stand on the edge of the pod and look out.

Standing at 531ft (162m) in height, the structure is now declared as the “most slender tower” by Guinness World Records. It has a diameter of 12.7ft (3.9m) boasting ground breaking engineering which overcame the challenge of carrying the weight of the 94-tonne pod capable of hosting 200 passengers weighing about 16 tonnes.

Chief Engineer and Director of the British Airways i360, John Roberts, has also added: “Amazingly, that’s not really the problem of designing the tower. The tower is all about one thing – making it stand up safely in extremely strong winds.” The tower can withstand wind speeds of 100mph.

Rising up to a height of 137m (450ft) at the edge of the city’s West Pier, the pod is constructed out of 24 segments of handmade glass complete with wheelchair access, temperature control to ensure year-round comfort and a functioning Sky Bar while the visitors enjoys the views up to 26miles from Bexhill to Chichester.

Check out the Archiboo video with Julia Barfield on what it has taken to build the country’s most ambitious and sustainable tourism project and why an entrepreneurial spirit is missing from architecture.

Written by: Surgil Khan