Fans of the London Eye will love what’s in store for the UK capital’s next-door neighbor. Construction is finally nearing completion on the British Airways i360, a sleek 162-meter-tall tower with a glass viewing pod that, when complete, will be both the UK’s highest moving observation tower and the “world’s first vertical cable car.” Located just outside the capital near the beach in Brighton, the observation tower will whisk visitors up to a height of 138 meters and offer views across the English Channel, the coastal Sussex landscape, and surrounding town.
Marks Barfield Architects, the same firm behind the London Eye, designed the British Airways i360. Unlike the London Eye’s Ferris Wheel setup, the British Airways i360 looks more like an amusement park drop tower. The 18-meter-wide glass pod enclosure that rings the tower will be ten times bigger than a London Eye viewing car and is designed to hold up 200 people at a time. French lift specialist Poma designed the pod’s drive mechanism and control system.
“The pod is completed and it looks stunning,” said Julia Barfield, one of the two co-founders of Marks Barfield Architects, according to Dezeen. “The fluid form of the glass sits beautifully in its beachfront setting and the mirrored underside will cast reflections of the naturally shifting shapes of the sea and sky.” On a clear day, the pod will offer 26-mile visibility in all directions. A restaurant located at the base of the tower will serve locally sourced fare. Tickets for the observation tower are expected to cost £15 for adults and £7.50 for children. The tower will open summer 2016.