Marks Barfield Architects, Brighton, 2016


Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Nic Bailey Design was the pod consultant 

British Airways     Download Original

  • Nic Bailey Design was the pod consultant    
  • The viewing distance from the top is 26 miles    
  • 200 passengers can fit into the pod    
  • The pod diameter is 18m    
  • The tower is 162m    
  • Underside of the pod    
  • The weight of the foundation is 4,150 tonnes    
  • View of the tower from Brighton    
  • The tower diameter is 3.9m    
  • The ride takes 20 minutes    
  • Site plan    
  • Floor plan    
  • Pod section    
  • Site elevation    
  • Elevation    
  • Elevation of reconstructed toll booth    

This gleaming observation tower is the creation of Marks Barfield, the husband-and-wife team behind the London Eye.

Marks Barfield wanted to replicate the experience of the Eye – the slow ascent and glass pods – but at a comparatively low budget: the tower design comes in at a third of the cost of the wheel. As at the London Eye, the architects came up with the idea then sought the finance, creating a company in which they are 80 per cent stakeholders.

Located at the landward end of the West Pier on Brighton beach, British Airways i360 is a modern-day ‘vertical pier’ whose purpose is to delight, entertain and inspire. Visitors are invited to ‘walk on air’ and gain a new perspective on the city, just as the original pier welcomed Victorian society to ‘walk on water’.

It has a noticeably different feel to the amusements and fairground of the more tourist-y pier to the East. The observation cabin holds up to 200 visitors per trip. Through the double-curved window panes, passengers enjoy panoramic 360° views.


  • Begun: Jul 2014
  • Completed: Jul 2016
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Procurement: NEC Option A
  • Address: Lower Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2LN, United Kingdom

Professional Team