Progress at the Brighton i360 is on schedule, with the completion of the specially engineered temporary 60 metre high “jacking tower”, which can be seen from far and wide.
Said Eleanor Harris, CEO of Brighton i360, “If you have been on the seafront over the past couple of weeks, you can’t have missed the fact that the i360 construction is now well underway.”
David Marks, architect of the i360, said: “Building the i360 is a formidable engineering operation. The jacking tower is a vertical factory, a vertical production line. Individual steel cans go in at the bottom, and the finished tower comes out of the top, with the steel cans safely bolted together and clad in an eye-catching, diaphanous, aluminium veil.”
The first few steel ‘cans’ were lifted into place conventionally using the giant 100 metre high crawler crane, nick-named T-Rex by the site team, but as the tower reaches higher into the sky, the jacking tower, designed by the i360’s main contractor, Hollandia, will be used to lift the tower up, allowing a new can to be skidded in underneath.
The new can will be bolted into place, and this process will then be repeated until all 17 cans are adjoined and the i360 tower is complete.
Seven of the 17 steel cans are already in place – numbers one, two, three at the bottom, and the top four cans (cans 14, 15, 16 and 17) and the tower is now 64 meters high with the top just peeping out of the top of the jacking tower.
That first jacking will see the jacking tower lift around 315 tonnes, made up of the top four cans and the counterweight which will be used to help the i360’s viewing pod rise and descend once the attraction is open. The engineering team will then slide can 13 into place and once that has been bolted to the cans above, the process can begin again.
This operation will be carried out ten times over in the coming weeks. Can three – which is currently in place but will be removed prior to the first jacking in order to place can 13 – will be re-installed at the end to complete the 162 metre high tower.
While up and lifting, the jacking tower will also be used to fit the exterior cladding to each part of the tower, which is designed using a 5mm thick skin of expanded aluminium. The top can – can number 17 – already has its curved cladding panels fitted.
The final lift – all the cans from number four to number 17 – will be 980 tonnes and the tower is scheduled, subject to weather conditions, to be in place by early September.
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Brighton i360 is conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects.
The Brighton i360 team includes many of those who created the London Eye.
About Brighton i360
At 162 metres high, and with an observation pod rising to 450 feet, the i360 will be the tallest observation tower outside London, a vertical cable car offering a new perspective on the fun loving seaside city of Brighton. Sited at the root end of the historic West Pier on Brighton’s seafront, the i360 has a slender, elegant design, with a futuristic pod allowing 200 visitors at a time to enjoy the surrounding view as it slowly unfolds. The visitor centre incorporates a 400 seat restaurant; a shop; children’s play zone; exhibition space; tea rooms; and conference and event facilities.
Marks Barfield Architects
Brighton i360 is conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects who also created the London Eye. Marks Barfield, is one of the UK’s leading medium-sized architectural firms with a reputation for innovative design. It has won more than 60 awards for design, innovation and sustainability. The firm’s design portfolio includes arts and culture, sports and leisure, education, housing, bridges and transport.
The engineer and project manager for the i360 is Jacobs, who was also the London Eye’s principal engineers. Jacobs is one of the world’s leading professional firms in engineering and construction, employing more than 70,000 staff in 15 countries. The team working on the i360 is led by Dr John Roberts and is based in Manchester.
Hollandia Infra is the i360 Main Contractor and in charge of all the construction work, including the manufactured and erection of the steel tower. Hollandia Infra is part of Hollandia B.V. one of Holland’s largest steelwork contractor with a reputation as a leader in its field. Hollandia is active in a wide range of markets and segments such as bridges, offshore, infrastructure, and high-rise buildings. In the UK Hollandia were responsible for the steel structures for the London Eye, SwissRe building St May Axe, and Wembley Stadium.
The i360 glass pod, drive mechanism and the ride control system are designed and built by Poma. POMA is an 80 year-old world leader in ropeway transportation based in Europe, with subsidiaries on five continents. To date, POMA has built over 8,000 installations in over 80 countries. POMA was also responsible for constructing the 32 ‘capsules’ on the London Eye.
J T Mackley
The i360’s civil engineering contractor is Sussex-based Mackley. Founded in 1927 Mackley are recognised as a leader in coastal and fluvial civil engineering producing innovative, sustainable solutions and safe working conditions in close cooperation with clients. Previous projects in Brighton have included construction of the storm overflow sewer on Brighton Beach; reconstruction of the Brighton beach colonnades and carousel; coastal maintenance from Shoreham Harbour to Rottingdean; strengthening works for Brighton Pier; and strengthening works for the West Pier (prior to the fire).
Hemsley Orrell Partnership (HOP)
Hemsley Orrell Partnership (HOP) assists Jacobs as Designated Project Managers , Temporary and some Permanent Works design. Based in Hove, HOP is a multidisciplinary Practice of Consulting Civil and Structural Engineers with a particular specialism in coastal projects. Local projects have included underwater repairs to Brighton Pier; Brighton Marina; the redevelopment, restoration and extension of the British Engineerium and the design of the AMEX Community Stadium.