Transcript: British Airways i360 - How it was built


The West Pier site, Brighton Beach. This once-popular attraction opened in 1866. The West Pier was sadly destroyed by fire in 2003. A new attraction now stands in its place.

David Marks, Chairman: “Everybody loves to go up high, it’s almost an innate human desire to get up high and enjoy the view, to see the landscape stretched out beneath you like a carpet. It’s a beautiful sight.”

Dr John Roberts, Chief Engineer: “There’s nothing of this height that is this thin and it is that feature which really drives the design.”

Julia Barfield, Deputy Chair: “We’ve sort of got the band back together really who did the London Eye. We’ve got a fantastic team of very skilled engineers and contractors all coming together to make something that’s never been done before.”

December 2014: Sif Group, the Netherlands. Steel cans for the tower are created. The cans are bolted to the flanges. The steel is sprayed with molten zinc and painted.

In Brighton, work commences on the foundations.

January 2015: The Victorian sewer system is diverted.

February 2015: The site foundations are laid. More than 4,000 tonnes of concrete are poured and the foundations for the building are created.

June 2015: Barges arrive from the Netherlands delivering the steel cans that will form the tower.

Julia Barfield, Deputy Chair: “We’re absolutely thrilled. It’s been 10 years in the making and finally we’ve got something very tangible to show for it”.

Andrew Mosley, General Manger, The Grand: “I think that we will see an ongoing increase in tourism and the i360 coming to Brighton has only got to be good news”.

Eleanor Harris, Director: “You’re just starting to get a sense of what the height will be. If you can imagine all these cans that we can see here laid up all together going up into the sky. It’s going to be an incredible sight when it’s finished”.

Local 1: “I’m from this area and I think that the i360 will be fantastic.”

Local 2: “I think it’s a wonderful landmark, something good for Brighton really”.

The First tower pieces are moved into position.

August 2015: The 17 steel tower cans are raised using an innovative 60-meter-high jacking tower.

October 2015: At the Poma-Sigma factory in Lyon, France, the viewing pod is constructed.

David Marks, Chairman: “The Quality of the workmanship, the fluidity of the glass, you can look at the renders and the drawings but not until you see it in reality do you realise how amazing it really is”.

November 2015: Pod segments start to arrive in Brighton. The pod segments are assembled around the tower.

December 2015: Work begins on the tollbooths.

Ian Crockford, Project Lead, Marks Barfield Architects: “What we’re doing is we’re reconstructing two new tollbooths and they’ll be sitting at the same locations as the previous tollbooths.”

Easton tollbooth (The Rock Shop) 1975.

Easton tollbooth (The Rock Shop) 2010.

Highly skilled pattern-makers create moulds based on original Pieces of the West Pier tollbooths. The moulds are used to recreate perfect tollbooth sections.

January 2016: The final pieces of the pod are put into place.

November 2015: The official naming rights sponsor is announced.

Lynne Embleton, Director of Strategy, British Airways: “We have so many connections with Brighton and with Sussex, obviously just up the road at Gatwick we’re flying 67 destinations around the world. So many of our staff live in this area, so many of our customers come from this area. It’s just a really natural fit.”

Spring 2016: The beach building is constructed.

June 2016: The pod reaches full height during testing.

August 2016: British Airways i360 opens to the public.

Visitor 1: “Incredible experience, really”

Visitor 2: “It’s great to see Brighton from a different angle”

October 2016: HRH Prince Philip officially opens British Airways i360

David Marks, Chairman: “It’s a fantastic day, I can’t tell you how lucky we feel.”

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