architecture and urbanism

i360, the world's tallest ascending observation tower

The English city of Brighton, in the south of England, is going to build the i360, the world's highest rising observation tower.

Brighton, just like London or Paris, has magnificent views that are yet to be discovered: the labyrinthine lanes of the Lanes, the Regency-style architecture of the waterfront, the dramatic chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters or the wild expanses of the Downs, ...
At 162 metres high, and with an observation rotunda rising to 138 metres, the i360 will be Britain's tallest observation tower outside London - even higher than the London Eye. It will undoubtedly strengthen the position of this lively city as a tourist destination and cultural centre. Brighton attracts more than 10 million visitors and is the most popular tourist destination in the South East after London and Oxford. 

Erected on the beach that runs parallel to the King's Highway in Brighton, it will replace the old Pier West building built in 1866 by the naval architect Eugène Birchet, which at the time attracted 2 million visitors each year. West Pier was once one of Brighton's most spectacular settings. The pier has since fallen into disrepair and has been ravaged by two fires. It was closed in 1975. What little of the pier remains is now listed; the other pier also listed in England is Clevedon Pier.

The i360 will feature a restaurant, boutique, exhibition space and conference and event facilities on the ground floor. The i360 will be managed by Brighton i360 Ltd, whose principal team members include Jacobs Engineering Group Inc (Jacobs), architects Marks Barfield of London, the Dutch company Hollandia, and the French company POMA. Together, this team already built the famous London Eye observation tower 14 years ago. They are now meeting again in Brighton to build the i360.

The French company POMA, after having designed the 32 capsules and the drive system of the London Eye, will once again participate in the construction of a major tourist attraction in England and unique in the world. Work has just begun and the opening is scheduled for summer 2016.

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The construction of the structure of this vertical lift, which has a unique scale, was designed by Jacobs, a world-renowned player in this type of construction with extensive experience in large-scale leisure projects, including tourist attractions and passenger transport facilities. The two companies Jacobs and HOP (local engineering) will manage the project together.
David Marks and Julia Barfield, the architects and designers of the i360 and the London Eye said : "We're going to build something totally unique and internationally renowned here in Brighton & Hove. We are very excited to work with this top team again and look forward to the opening of the attraction in the summer of 2016. »

Francis Charamel, President of Sigma, one of the POMA Group subsidiaries managing this project, said : "Poma is very happy to be part of this unique project and we are very grateful to David Marks for his confidence in us, following our long and fruitful collaboration. »

Nardo Hoogenijk, managing director of Hollandia said : "We are very proud to be involved in such a project, which is a continuation of our successful partnership on the London Eye. We're very excited to be working with the same team again to create an extraordinary new tourist attraction. »
www.brightoni360.co.uk

The Building Permit was granted in 2006, following an agreement between the Conservative and Green parties, Brighton Council agreed eight years later to increase its loan for the project from £14.8 million to £36,000,000. To date, the total bill has now risen to over £46.2 million.

The i360 Brighton is expected to attract at least 700,000 visitors per year (800,000 in the opening year), which will be the city's first paid attraction. According to an independent economic impact study, the i360 will create an additional 440 new full-time jobs in Brighton and Hove, while attracting staff from other local businesses.

About POMA
With more than 7,800 installations built in the world over the last 78 years, the French company POMA has become a major player in cable transportation solutions. All over the world, POMA innovates, brings its know-how and mastery of cable transportation in the fields of snow, industrial sciences and urban transportation. Every day, nearly 6.5 million people are transported by equipment manufactured by POMA. In 2013, POMA's turnover amounted to 283.4 million euros.  www.poma.net

About Marks Barfield Architects
Founded in 1989 by Julia Barfield and David Marks, Marks Barfield Architects (MBA) conceived and designed the London Eye in 1993 and has also been involved in numerous projects in the field of schools, culture, transport and sports buildings as well as the Treetop Walk walkway and the quay outside the Tate Britain. Marks Barfield has won over 60 awards for design, innovation and sustainability.  www.marksbarfield.com

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