Caroline Lucas: On the British Airways i360

Caroline Lucas: On the British Airways i360

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I very much enjoyed my time last week visiting Brighton’s latest attraction, the i360. It was a unique experience to see Brighton and beyond from 450 feet in the air!

Architects Julia Barfield and David Marks (pictured) were my hosts. Talking with them, I was reminded of how lucky we are to have their vision now applied to Brighton & Hove. They have a strong belief in the role of design as a tool for social and environmental good and already have plans to contribute to our city’s pool of design and engineering expertise and to support interest in these areas in local colleges and schools.

The i360’s method of construction is highly innovative, just as the West Pier was in its time. Of course I raised the recent teething problems of the pod getting stuck and was fully reassured on receiving an explanation of the events behind that – and the lessons learned. Julia and David are the team behind the London Eye, which similarly learned from teething problems and has gone on to be a hugely successful attraction.

The views on the “flight” itself were as spectacular as you might expect from the world’s tallest observation tower (and first vertical cable car), with the sight of Brighton & Hove from up high as intriguing as the distant prospect of Beachy Head and the Rampion windfarm rising up from the waves.

Our city is reinventing itself again: and while the design may still be controversial for some, I believe it shows a boldness of vision consistent with our city’s history, and that it will make a significant contribution to the process of urban regeneration.