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London Eye
South Bank, London, UK
London Eye
associated engineer
Ove Arup & Partners
date  1999
era  Modern  |  category  Amusement Structure  |  reference  TQ304799
ICE reference number  HEW 2361
photo  Jane Joyce
A dramatic addition to London's South Bank, the British Airways London Eye is a giant passenger-carrying 'bicycle wheel' projecting over the Thames.
The wheel is made of steel and is 135m high and 424m in circumference. It has 32 passenger capsules These were fabricated in France and are clad in double-curved Italian laminated glass. The wheel rotates at a constant perimeter speed of 0.26m per second one revolution takes 30 minutes. There 80 supporting cables with a total length of 6km.
The capsules are maintained in a horizontal position by computers. These monitor the angle of the capsules, activating tilt switches to level them once an angle of one and a half degrees is reached.
The London Eye was delivered to the site in prefabricated quadrants by sea and river. Piled dolphins were built into the river bed to hold it during assembly. It was lifted into a vertical position on 10th October 1999 and the final capsule fitted on 11th November.
Designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield as a Millennium project, its future has not been entirely certain as it originally had permission to operate for a limited number of years only. However, it is proving a favourite with Londoners and visitors alike and looks set to stay indefinitely.
Architect: David Marks and Julia Barfield
Steel rim construction: Hollandia, the Netherlands
reference sources   CEH Lond

London Eye