British Airways i360 – RIBA recognition for i360
British Airways i360 has picked up a RIBA National Award 2017.
The project received the RIBA South East Award, which not only highlights the significance of such a structure, but also recognises the hard work that went into making it a reality. According to RIBA, “The jury were impressed by the extraordinary innovation and originality demonstrated by this scheme and the heroic collaboration between architect and engineer.”
The spectacular British Airways i360 is the world’s tallest moving observation tower and features a gleaming 162-metre-tall vertical tower which pierces the skyline on Brighton seafront. The tower – which opened in August 2016 – includes a fully enclosed glass observation pod, which gently lifts groups of up to 200 passengers to a height of 138 metres, offering 360-degree views of up to 26-miles over Brighton and Hove, the South Downs, the South Coast and the English Channel.
The attraction also incorporates a restaurant, tea rooms, hospitality rooms and shop at its base.
The design and engineering of British Airways i360 is as impressive as it is innovative. The tower is acknowledged by Guinness World Records as the world’s most slender tower, with a height-to-width ratio of more than 40:1. State-of-the-art cable car technology is used to drive the pod up and down and energy is generated on its descent.
Eleven years in the making from design to reality, 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. Main contractors for the project were steel manufacturer Hollandia, who manufactured the steel tower.
The aim of the project was to give people a new experience of Brighton and Hove, promote regeneration of the seafront, and to provide an attraction which reflects the public appeal and spirit of the original West Pier in the twenty-first century.
British Airways i360 was designed to operate even in windy conditions and has a series of state-of-the-art measures installed which ensure that the ride is always smooth and safe.
Firstly, the perforated aluminium cladding around the tower diffuses and disrupts the flow of wind by allowing some wind to pass through it, thereby reducing wind-induced vibrations.
Secondly, dampers are installed inside the tower to prevent vibrations and, thirdly, dampers are also inside the pod, which is itself aerodynamically shaped for least resistance to the wind.
The tower consists of 17 steel cans each of 3.9 metres in diameter that are stacked and bolted together.
The double-glazing of the pod ensures that the views are magnificent and, because the pod ascends on the outside of the tower, the views are totally unobstructed.