10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The i360
Whether you hate it or love it, the British Airways i360 is a part of our seafront’s scenery now…But how much do you know about the controversial structure?
1. It’s 162 Metres High
The huge structure measures up at a whopping 162 m (531 ft) in height. Apparently on a clear day you can see the English Channel, nearby attraction Beacheyhead and even the Isle of Wight! At such a height, views of the seafront and the city are bound to be impressive.
2. It Was Created By The Same Team Responsible For The London Eye
The i360 was designed, engineered, manufactured and even promoted by the same team responsible for the iconic London Eye. Architectural company, Marks Barfield, designed the i360 as well as the London Eye. It’s thought that the creators were inspired by the idea of making it like a vertical pier.
3. It Cost A Total Of £46m To Make
A great big viewing tower on Brighton’s seafront with a 360-degree viewing platform made from glass that moves up and down on a huge steel pole? Sounds like it might be somewhat on the expensive side to make…But would you have guessed it cost a grand total of £46m to put those plans into action? Despite originally being a privately funded project, £36m was provided by a Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) through Brighton and Hove City Council.
4. It Was Originally Called The ‘Brighton i360’
The project was originally to be named ‘Brighton i360’ however in November 2016, when the official sponsors of the project were announced it changed to what we know it as now, the British Airways i360.
5. The West Pier Trust Hoped It Would Lead To The Reconstruction Of The West Pier
The owners of the i360’s site, The West Pier Trust, had hoped in 2014 that a successful i360 would eventually lead to the rebuilding of the historic old West Pier.
6. It’s Britain’s Highest Moving Observational Tower
With a viewing platform at 138 m, the i360 is Britain’s highest moving observational tower. From the viewing platform you can take in the scenery of the South Downs, the coast and as aforementioned, the English Channel.
7. The ‘i’ Stands For Innovation, Intelligence & Integrity
If you’ve ever wondered what the ‘i’ in ‘i360’ means then you wouldn’t be alone, but finally our questions have been answered! According to the operator the ‘i’ stands for innovation, intelligence and integrity – make of that what you will…
8. English Heritage Praised The Project
The English Heritage praised the original project plans from 2006, saying that they felt the plan would “provide an outstanding feature on the seafront, and a worthy companion to any successor to the West Pier”. The West Pier Trust also backed the project, hoping it would generate more visitors, proving that “Brighton is open for business”.
9. Construction Began Overseas
The construction for the i360 tower began offsite to say the least, with the first parts of the tower being constructed in the Netherlands in 2008 before returning to Brighton to finish the job.
10. The Structure Was Strongly Opposed By Locals
Being nicknamed the ‘iSore’ by some locals, many of Brighton’s residents did not take kindly to the new arrival. The seafront structure was strongly opposed with petitions voicing concerns about the loan provided by the council. Valeria Payton of the SaveHOVE campaign said that the tower would “be profoundly out of keeping with the rest of the seafront”. Selma Montford of the Brighton Society also voiced concerns, describing it as a “horrendous thing in the sky”. Local singer-songwriter, Hannah Brackenbury even wrote a song about it called, ‘Big Grey Pole’, a play on Joni Mitchell’s, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’.