The glass viewing pod for British Airways i360, conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, was completed on Brighton beach, making way for the last phase of construction before the world's tallest moving observation attraction opens this summer. The construction team attached the final segment to the 162 metre tower earlier this afternoon, forming a breathtaking futuristic glass viewing pod which is ten times bigger than the capsules on the London Eye and can hold up to 200 people.
David Marks commented, “It is incredibly exciting to see the pod finally take shape on the tower. The team from Poma have done a remarkable job, both in terms of the craftsmanship of the handmade pod as well their skillful and swift assembly.”
Julia Barfield said, “This is an extremely important moment for us. The pod is completed and it looks stunning. 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.”
Eleanor Harris, CEO of British Airways i360 said, “It is a thrilling way to start the year. We are well on schedule and look forward to starting to test the pod movement in the spring and British Airways i360 opening this summer.”
At 4.7 metres high and 18 metres wide, the pod will gently glide up to 138 metres (450 feet), offering a gradually unfolding view of the fun loving city of Brighton & Hove, the English Channel and 26 miles of Sussex coastal landscape.
Made from 24 segments of handmade glass from Italy, the pod weighs 106 tonnes with 200 people on board (90 tonnes without people).
The glass is double glazed and is four panes thick; it is constructed from two laminated double-curved sheets glued together with an interlayer and separated by a sealed air gap between the two separate glass layers, creating a window assembly that is four layers of glass thick.
As this form of toughened glass cannot be cut to size, each piece had to be precisely formed at the start of the process in order for them to fit together accurately in layers and then be attached to the steel 'ribs' forming the frame for each superstructure.
Among its other features, the British Airways i360 pod will be heated and air-conditioned, is fully accessible for wheelchair users, has bench seating for passengers and will also house the Sky Bar, the most unique bar in the UK.
The next key project milestone will be when the team runs test flights for the pod in spring.