Britain opens its new i360 tower | DW Travel | DW | 04.08.2016
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Britain opens its new i360 tower

The world's tallest moving observation tower, the i360, opens to the public on Thursday. The futuristic landmark has transformed the historic seafront in the English tourist resort of Brighton.

A 162-meter-high (530-foot-high) steel tower is ringed by a doughnut-shaped glass observation pod that gently glides up and down.

The design is meant to be a 21st-century take on the Victorian pleasure piers that characterize British seaside towns, according to project chiefs - except the pier is vertical and in the sky.

With a height to diameter ratio of 40 to one, it is the world's slenderest tall tower, according to Guinness World Records. It is hoped that the attraction will further boost tourism in the southeastern resort of Brighton, a gem of 1700s and 1800s architectural grandeur.

Designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield, the tower is the sequel to their London Eye observation wheel, which opened in the British capital in 2000 and is one of its most popular visitor attractions.

The tower's nicknames range from the "iSore" to more sexually innuendoed names. Some residents decry the fact that local authorities are taking on a 36-million-pound (43-million-euro) loan to fund the project. However, the city council insists it is charging the i360 a higher rate than the borrowing costs.

The 18-meter diameter pod - technically an oblate ellipsoid shape - is pulled up by a giant cog and steel cable winch system, located underground. It also uses a counterweight within the tower. The pod will travel up and down around 200 times a week, starting in September, and will cost visitors £15 ($20, 18 euros) a ride.

at/eg (afpe)

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