British Airways i360 – West Pier Trust’s View
Brighton and Hove’s spectacular new landmark, British Airways i360 observation tower is the only one of its kind in the world. With its elegant mast and glass viewing pod capable of lifting 200 people to a height of 150 metres, it offers stunning aerial panoramas of Brighton, the South Downs and the Channel coast.
The West Pier Trust, owners of the land on which it stands, selected British Airways i360 because they felt it truly captured the spirit of the West Pier. Glynn Jones, chairman of the Trust said: ‘Our challenge was how to uphold the heritage of the pier and yet promote regeneration of the city seafront. The answer is British Airways i360. It’s a brilliant solution because it is a landmark that achieves maximum impact with minimum intervention. It resonates perfectly with the city’s landscape, cultural roots and aspirations for the future.’
British Airways i360 is the brainchild of Marks Barfield Architects, the team behind the London Eye. Since opening, the London Eye has become the most visible and visited London attraction and significantly contributed to the regeneration of London’s South Bank. Marks Barfield’s vision is that British Airways i360 will do the same for Brighton and Hove.
Research findings suggest that approximately 750,000 people will visit it every year with significant associated benefits to commercial, retail and leisure businesses in the city. In addition, British Airways i360 will directly generate 160 new full-time jobs locally from the operation.
In the view of the Trust, the success of British Airways i360 is highly likely to attract additional commercial investment and make possible the construction of a modern West Pier.
Because although the skeletal remains of the West Pier are a much-loved feature of the Brighton seafront, and would never be removed unless they became hazardous, they will eventually be reclaimed by the sea. A sea-based, worthy successor to Eugenius Birch’s masterpiece would be an exciting and highly appropriate development.
The Trust therefore hopes to see in due course the site boasting two major attractions – British Airways i360 and a New West Pier. Since 2014 it has been consulting its members and the wider public on possible feasible options.