Sited on the south coast in Brighton, on a spot adjacent to the now rusting West Pier, the i360 project has been 12 years in the making and opens tomorrow.
The tower, costing £46 million has been funded through a Public-Private Partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council and the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.
The tower has been designed by London-based architects, Marks Barfield, who also designed the London Eye. On top of council funding, Marks Barfield has injected £6 million into its construction
While the tower reaches up to 162 metres tall the passenger viewing pod will climb to a height of 450 feet (or 138 metres) making it the tallest moving observation tower in the world and the tallest observation tower outside London.
The moving observation tower or pod can comfortably accommodate 200 guests on each. If viewers spot something of interest and move to one side of the pod, there is no need to worry – it won’t be tipping over.
The tower itself is incredibly slender, and no more than 4.6 metres wide while the pod is around 18 metres in diameter. The British Airways i360 is the slimmest tall tower in the world!
On a clear day you will be able to see up to 26 miles taking in the beautiful Sussex coast from Bexhill-on-Sea to Chichester including Beachy Head and Seven Sisters; the South Downs National Park; Brighton and Hove with its Regency architecture and the Royal Pavilion; and out to sea.
The steel tower is being manufactured and will be erected by Hollandia. Hollandia is also British Airways i360’s Main Contractor and in charge of all the construction work. Hollandia is Holland’s largest steelwork supplier and built the London Eye’s steel structure. Hollandia has a reputation as a leader in structural steel projects and in the UK was responsible for the steel structures for the Gherkin and Wembley Stadium.
The ‘vertical cable’ car glass pod is being designed and built by Poma. Poma is Europe’s leading cable car and ski lift manufacturer. Based in France with more than 70 years of experience. Poma was also responsible for constructing the 32 ‘capsules’ and drive system on the London Eye.
And… Yes if you fancy an ‘I do’ with a view, the tower will be licensed to hold weddings. You can host a wedding on the British Airways i360 from February 2017.