So how did we do it? We’ve had a look back at our website and picked out some of the highlights for you; a summary of 2015 in blogs no less.
The sewer diversion was our focus in January and we were absurdly excited about it. It not only marked the end to the major excavation work, it was the first time we were able to showcase some of the innovative engineering techniques we were using in the project. Our night-time break-in saw us lift a 5-brick deep section of the sewer into the air. A giant inflatable bung was then placed in the flow and we were able to re-route the cities’ sewage into our newly created concrete pipe without any nasty smells or disruption to the local area. Read our favourite January blog: Innovative engineering diverts Victorian Sewer
From this point on we knew it was going to get a whole lot more exciting – we were going to start preparing for the tower, moving out of the ground and up to the skies. February not only saw us complete the sewer and start laying the deep foundations, it was also the point in which we started talking a bit more about what the i360 would mean to the city. Read our favourite February blog: Benefits to the City
It was in March that we had our first glimpse of the work taking place in Holland. On-site we were digging deeper and deeper into the muddy shingle, forming the 10m deep basement, so our first look at the futuristic tower cans was a thrilling juxtaposition – they seemed so huge and metallic and clean! Read our favourite March blog: A look at the i360’s progress
We have always tried to work with local businesses where we can and our April activities were the perfect example of this. We announced that MasterChef: the Professionals winner Steven Edwards would be working with Centerplate to deliver Sussex-themed menus, great news for local producers, but also that local agency Tilt would be creating a new website for us. Read our favourite April blog: Working with the best in local talent
Working with the community is important to us and our efforts extend further than just local business. As part of our schools programme, we are offering each state school child a free flight on the British Airways i360 at one point during their school career. As we found out more about the tower cans throughout May, the incredibly complex engineering behind the tower started to come to life and we realised that the tower could be an amazing way to help children get inspired by STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Read our favourite May blog: Inspiring the next generation
June was the month we had all been waiting for. One year since our first spade hit the ground and we were all on-site to welcome the 17 tower cans, jacking tower, counterweight and chassis as they arrived onto the beach in front of our site in 2 barge loads. It was a breath-taking spectacle to see the huge 12m cans as they were lifted by the 100m crane onto our beach site and then into their final position. Read our favourite June blog: The first part of the tower has arrived.
One of the most exciting engineering elements of our project is the way we have built the tower. When you are creating something as slender and high as the BA i360 you cannot use a crane alone. A 62m jacking tower was erected that allowed us to attach a collar around the lower cans, lift them up and slot a new one underneath. In July we all watched with bated breath as the top 4 cans were lifted into the air and a new can rolled in. Unsurprising that our favourite July blog focuses on the jacking tower’s first lift.
It only took an incredible 10 weeks to build our tower – it simply emerged from the ground and went up and up and up! We became the tallest structure in the city and then before we knew it, we were the tallest in Sussex. On 23rd August it was at its full height of 162m and local artist, Lisa Holdscroft, captured the tower build in a whole new way – our favourite August blog: drawing a unique perspective on the i360 tower.
With the tower up, all eyes were on the pod. Made up of 24 hand-made glass sections, we had to build the whole pod in France before we brought it to Brighton. Like the tower, we had to be sure it would fit perfectly. September was our first glimpse of the delicate glass pieces when the engineers went to check the progress. Our favourite blog was: A preview of the passenger pod under construction.
When you build a tall tower you can’t help but change the skyline. We caught everybody’s attention when we released our drone images in October. The tower looked majestic, marking the centre of the city and drawing the eye to the symmetry of Regency Square as it drops down the West Pier. Simply stunning and definitely our favourite blog of October: British Airways i360 drone images.
If things were not moving fast enough already, November brought us world-wide attention with the arrival of the first pod pieces and our announcement of the British Airways partnership. This was fantastic news both for us and for the city – BA will be championing us around the world and this will undoubtedly increase visitor numbers to the city. As our headline sponsor, it also meant a name change for us and in the space of one press announcement our name changed to British Airways i360. Read more from Novembers blog: Welcome on board British Airways.
Ho ho ho… December arrived and here we are. Rather than relax we challenged ourselves to release our gift vouchers in time for Christmas. Voucher sales have been incredible and we have a real sense of excitement about our opening next year. Check out the detail on our favourite December blog: Gift vouchers now on sale.
So let’s raise a toast to 2015’s ‘blogs from the portacabin’. This time next year we will blogging from our new office as we watch the pod descend from 138m into our beach building. We’ll be talking about our incredible launch, the whirlwind of Christmas parties, the first pod wedding and a host of other news.
2016 will be a huge year for British Airways i360 and for our beautiful city. We can’t wait until we open in the Summer so we can welcome on board people from Brighton & Hove, elsewhere in the UK and our visitors from overseas!