Marks Barfield’s vision comes to life…

Nick Myall
Monday 15 Jun 2015

The first ‘cans’ for the Brighton i360 project have been delivered directly to the beach

The first barge arrived at Brighton Beach from Holland at first light on 11 June, delivering the steel cans which will form the tallest new UK visitor attraction outside London, conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the internationally acclaimed London Eye.

Brighton i360 is being constructed by an international team, bringing together specialist design and engineering from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and the UK.

Commenting on the technical side of the project David Marks, Chairman of Brighton i360 and Co-Managing Director of Marks Barfield Architects said: “There will be two barge transports. The first 750 tonne load will carry the first six cans (nos 1, 2, 3, 14, 15, 16) out of a total of 17, the counterweight, three sections of the jacking tower and skidding platform. 

“The barge came from Hollandia Infra’s steelworks in Rotterdam and was harboured at Shoreham before moving on to be moored at Brighton Beach. Transportation by water is ideal as it means the tower can be prefabricated in large sections and taken directly to the site minimising road transport and environmental impact.”

The 162 metre tower consists of 17 steel cans that will be stacked and bolted together. The cans are 3.9 metres in diameter with the heaviest at the base being 85mm thick and the lightest at the top 20mm thick. 

Commenting on the assembly of the tower David Marks said: “A 100-metre high crane will unload the cans, each measuring between six and 12 metres, directly onto the beach and using a giant jacking tower, they will be joined together to build the tower itself. 

“The 60 metre jacking tower will be erected using a crawler crane and then seven cans will be stacked and bolted using flanges one on top of another up to a height just exceeding that of the jacking tower. A 16 tonne steel collar will be used to grip the tower within the jacking frame. The steel collar will be lowered within the jacking tower to grip the top four cans then four strand jacks, each with a capacity of 4540 tonnes, will jack the cans up until a new can be slid into place using a skidding track before the new can is bolted into position.”

This procedure will be carried out 10 times until i360 has reached a height of 162 metres

When the i360 opens in summer 2016, visitors will glide up to 450 feet for breathtaking views of the south coast from Chichester to Bexhill-on-Sea, the South Downs National Park and Brighton.

Seven thousand tonnes of gravel, shingle and chalk have been moved to create a platform for the delivery, whilst a 4,000 tonne concrete foundation has been built under the ground to balance out the towering feat of engineering. The first half of the concrete was poured on 30 May and the second concrete pour will take place on 10 June.

The tower will be completed this summer and then open in summer 2016, when the pod has been built and added to the tower and the visitor centre at its base is completed, to incorporate a 400 seat restaurant; a shop; children’s play zone; exhibition space; tea rooms; and conference and event facilities.

Commenting on the project David Marks also said: “This is a dream project for an architect and an engineer. I’m delighted to be working with such a superb team in Brighton and the city has given us a fantastic reception.”

To listen to WAN’s Editor-in-Chief, Michael Hammond interviewing Julia Barfield and David Marks, listen to the podcast. 

Click here for a full list of previous Tech Spots.

Nick Myall

News Editor

Key Facts:

United Kingdom

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team