Situated at the historic West Pier of the United Kingdom’s premiere seaside resort town of Brighton, a curious construction project has been underway for months, climbing ever higher into the sky. The British Airways i360 holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s most slender tower, with a diameter of just 3.9 meters (just under 13 feet) at its widest point. Work on the project has progressed to a critical milestone, as the observation pod atop the narrow tower reached its maximum height of 138 meters (452 feet) for the first time this week. Now, a series of tests and final construction work are all that stands between the landmark tower and its opening, planned for this summer.
The design of the British Airways i360 was hatched by the same duo who created the London Eye. David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects, based in London, dreamed up the moving observation tower, and then worked to turn that dream into a real-life addition to the Brighton skyline. On Tuesday, June 14, crews of technicians perched on the crow’s nests, which were temporarily installed on top of the glass-walled observation pod. They were in the midst of a series of tests inside and outside the structure, readying it for electrical installations and ensuring its safety. “Today, the team reached a major milestone with the pod reaching its maximum height for the first time,” said Marks. “Testing and commissioning will continue for a few more weeks.”
Once the tower opens to the public, the moving observation pod will carry passengers from the tower’s base and along a 450-foot tall track not unlike a cable car. Movement tests began earlier in June, and this week, progressed to a height of 98 feet, all before the pod reached its full height on Tuesday. Including the spire that sits atop the pod’s highest point, the tower spans over 531 feet (162 meters) tall.
Upon its completion, Brighton’s i360 will be the world’s tallest moving observation tower. The project will open later this summer, offering 360-degree views of Brighton and Hove, the Sussex coast and the English Channel. The tower sits atop a visitor center that also houses a restaurant, gift shop, children’s play area, and exhibition space, as well as conference and event facilities.
Images via British Airways i360