British Airways i360
The British Airways i360 is a 162 metre-high steel observation tower on the seafront of one of England’s most famous seaside resorts, Brighton. The tower is fitted with a large, aerodynamically-shaped capsule (the Pod), which can carry a maximum of two hundred visitors up to a height of 138 metres.
The British Airways i360 was designed by English architects David Marks and Julia Barfield (Marks Barfield Architects). This couple also designed the 135 metre-high London Eye, the enormous Ferris wheel in the capital of England. In the late 90s, Hollandia supplied all the steel structures for this project.
Hollandia Infra was the general contractor for the realisation of this tourist attraction. Mackley Civil Engineering was responsible for the subcontracted foundations and corresponding visitor buildings. Poma, a ski lift manufacturer from France, supplied the Pod for this observation tower, including the drive mechanism.
The steel observation tower consists of 17 sections, the cans. These steel cylinders were all manufactured at the workshops of Hollandia Infra and vary in length, from 6 to 12 metres. They have a diameter of 3.9 metres and have a joint weight of approximately 1,000 tons.
Flanges have been fitted to the ends of all tower sections. A flange is a special ring with the same diameter as the corresponding tower section. The steel cylinders are connected to each other by means of 68 steel bolts each. The connection of the 4 lower sections is stronger, with 112 screwed rods each. Hollandia Infra also developed and constructed a special lifting system for the construction of the Brighton i360.
Two transports by pontoon took the 17 elements and components for the lifting system to the south English coastal resort in the summer of 2015.
To facilitate the transfer of the tower sections, a special unloading quay was constructed on Brighton beach.
After the sections were unloaded, they were going to be ‘stacked’ on top of each other. The top section was positioned inside the auxiliary structure first and then lifted. The next section was positioned underneath that and both sections were connected. All tower sections were fitted with special exterior panels to protect the tower against the weather.
The British Airways i360 opened to the public in August 2016. Everyone can now enjoy this unique attraction, which offers breathtaking views across the English coast, Brighton and the hinterland, weather-permitting.
At the Structural Awards 2017 ceremony in London in November 2017, the i360 Brighton Tower has been winner in the category “Tall or Slender Structures” and of “The Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence”.