Courtesy British Airways i360
Courtesy British Airways i360

The world’s tallest moving observation tower has sprung into action, offering 360 views over Brighton and the English coastline.

British Airways i360 – which opens to the public on 4 August – is the first ever vertical cable car. Its glass viewing pod rises to a heady height of 138 m above Brighton beach.

‘Everyone loves a great view; it seems to be a universal desire to see the earth and its cities from exceedingly high places,’ says architect David Marks, who along with practice partner Julia Barfield created the tower.

British Airways i360
Courtesy of British Airways i360

The pair – whose practice Marks Barfield Architects is responsible for the London Eye – have set a host of records with their design for the vertical pier, including ‘thinnest observation tower in the world’, thanks to its slender height-to-width ratio of 40:1.

Costing £42.2m, the tower is at the heart of a £1bn council-led scheme to regenerate the city’s seafront. Says Brighton and Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan: ‘British Airways i360 is perhaps the most significant addition to our visitor economy since the council opened the Brighton Centre in 1977.’

At the base of the tower, a single-storey glazed structure – known as The Beach Building – houses a 400-seat restaurant, shop, exhibition space and cafe.

Courtesy British Airways i360
Pictured: the view from the top. Courtesy British Airways i360

British Airways i360’s glass pod can carry a total of 200 passengers at a time, who will be able to enjoy views stretching for up to 26 miles.

Read next: 6 madcap architectural attractions opening this summer



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