British practice Marks Barfield Architects, famous for designing the London Eye, are a step closer to realising their latest urban observation structure: the i360 Brighton. This week the international team who created the London landmark were reunited on Brighton beach as as loans of more than £40 million have been agreed to begin the tower's construction. Bringing together companies from the UK, France (Poma), the USA (Jacobs Enginneering) and the Netherlands (Hollandia), the project has been described as "truly unique."
At 162 metres high, and with a viewing pod rising to 138 metres, the i360 will be the tallest observation tower outside London, offering a new perspective on English coastal city of Brighton. Situated at the root end of the historic West Pier on Brighton’s seafront, the i360 will allow 200 visitors at a time to enjoy the surrounding view in a pod 18 metres in diameter. Alongside the tower, the visitor centre will incorporate a restaurant, shop, exhibition space, and conference centre.
The viewing pod will provide a 360 degree view through curved glass and will travel smoothly up from street level up to 138 metres above sea level before returning back to beach level. With an aspect ratio of 40:1 (height to girth) the tower, according to the architects, "is a feat of cutting edge engineering combined with innovative technology and elegant design to create the futuristic visitor attraction on the Brighton seafront."
David Marks and Julia Barfield said that "we have the opportunity to create something truly unique and of international renown here in Brighton and Hove. We are excited to be working again with this top team and we all look forward to seeing the opening of the attraction in Summer 2016."