Summer spectacular: Marks Barfield Architects-designed BA i360 opens in Brighton
Following an eleven year gestation, Brighton’s i360 tower designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects has finally opened its spectacular viewing pod to the public.
Located directly on the seafront of the southern British town, the BA i360 will provide its visitors with sweeping views of Brighton & Hove, the Sussex landscape, and the English Channel. Barfield Architects, who are best known for designing the world renowned London Eye, describe the superstructure as a ‘vertical pier’ and have aptly positioned it directly opposite the site of Brighton’s former West Pier which was destroyed by a fire in 2003.
Designed to hold up to 200 passengers at once, the i360’s pod is ten times bigger than those found on the London Eye. Due to the nature of its innovative engineering and a requirement for toughened glass, it’s 24 double glazed glass segments were meticulously handcrafted, cut to size and painstakingly pieced together to create the impressive pod.
Not only securing the title of the UK’s highest observation tower outside of London, the i360 has been crowned as the world’s thinnest structure due to its unusual height to width ratio of 40:1. Aiming to arouse an influx of tourism, the i360 is a key aspect of an ongoing billion-pound council-led transformation of Brighton’s seafront. ‘We first experienced the impact that heady mix of innovative architecture and engineering, combined with a great view of a great city, can have on the city with the London Eye,’ explains Barfield. ’It can be a catalyst for regeneration, breathe new life into forgotten areas and most importantly, give [something] back to the city.’