British Airways i360

At 162 metres high, and with an observation pod rising to 138 metres, British Airways i360 is the tallest observation tower outside London, offering a new perspective on the fun loving seaside city of Brighton.

Sited at the root end of the historic West Pier on Brighton’s seafront, British Airways i360 has a slender, elegant design, with a futuristic pod allowing 200 visitors at a time to enjoy the surrounding view as it slowly unfolds.

The pod is 18 metres in diameter, 10 times the size of a London Eye capsule, with seating and plenty of room to move around. Marks Barfield Architects and the international team who created the London Eye have joined forces again for the project, which was eight years in the making.

Client: Brighton i360 Ltd
Principal Contractor: Mackley
Duration: 104 Weeks
Value: £15m

Mackley were the principal contractor & specialist groundworks & civil contractor for the i360 and the complex works package involved:

Site Establishment & Logistics: The design, supply and erection of 500m of timber hoarding and the provision and operation of a 600m long temporary access road along Brighton beach.

Utility Diversions: Diversion of 2 x 11,000v and 2 x 33000v electrical supply cables & 1 x telecoms cable crossing the site by means a new reinforced concrete duct bank beneath the new building.

Sewer Diversion: Diversion of the existing Victorian brick intercepting sewer by installing 124m of new 1.8m diameter pipes along with the construction of 4 new inspection chambers, 2 of which were built with the sewer flowing through temporary pipes within the new chambers to avoid the need for over-pumping.

Piling: Installation of 40nr 600mm diameter bearing piles and 119m of secant wall to form the new basement wall

Basement excavation: To form the basement approximately 8,200m3 of material was excavated and following the CL:AIRE protocol was re-used off site as part of a flood defence scheme. An extensive deep well dewatering system was installed to ensure the basement area remained dry throughout the entire construction process.

Main tower Foundation: Installation & positioning of the main anchorage bolt cluster for the tower which weighed 25 tonnes. The design of the cluster meant that they could not be adjusted after the concrete had been placed, so they had to be positioned to + / – 0mm for line & + / – 0mm level. The tower is founded of a 32m x 32m x 3m deep reinforced concrete foundation. The foundation was cast in 2 separate pours. The first pour consisted of 1200m3 which was poured in just 12 hours following detailed planning with the local authorities. They allowed the pour to take place on a Saturday to enable capacity to be freed up within local batching plants. The foundation was topped with a final pour of 650m3 before the first section of the tower was installed.

Reinforced Concrete Frame: 2 storey, fair faced structure built around the tower

Hard landscaping: Installation of precast concrete slabs & paviours to create a new access road along the beach, new pre-cast concrete access steps between the upper & lower promenades & hostile vehicle protection measures.

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Video: British Airways i360: How it was Built