The Brighton i360 tower: ‘successor’ to the West Pier

Remembering the West Pier, Brighton - the future i360 tower

With the remains of Brighton’s magnificent West Pier now doomed to slowly rust away into the English Channel, the West Pier Trust have lent their support to what they believe is an ‘appropriate successor to the historic West Pier.’

This comes in the the shape of the i360, a tall observation tower with a passenger pod that rises 150m above sea level to offer dramatic views of the area.

Remembering the West Pier, Brighton - the future i360 tower

The tower with the remains of the West Pier in the foreground. The building seems to follow Brighton;s tradition for quirky architecture and novelties – check out this feature on Volk’s utterly bizarre Sea Railway that was built in the late Victorian period.

Taller than the London Eye

At 175 metres high, and with an observation pod rising to 141 metres, the i360 will be Britain’s highest observation tower outside London, with a shop and hospitality suite and a cafe/restaurant catering for up to 400 people built at the base.

(*promo video has been removed)

The ‘Brighton Eye’

The brainchild of Marks Barfield, the team behind the London Eye, the i360 has received enthusiastic support from Glynn Jones, Chair of the Brighton West Pier Trust:

We believe that the Brighton i360 – a ‘vertical pier’ – is entirely in the spirit of the original pier’s history and the best option to replicate its success and ethos

Not universally popular

Commentators on YouTube have been less enthusiastic, however:

I think it looks like an eyesore to be honest…I’d much rather have the west pier back than this

This is all about money, yet another unimaginative assault on Brighton & Hove’s splendid regency seafront. Like most modern architecture, it bears no relation to its environment and looks like an alien spaceship.

Pointless and ugly. Erect a giant dildo with a cock-ring why don’t you?

Expected in 2013. Possibly

The i360 team say that, “significant private funding is in place and a big investment has already been made,” adding:

We will start full construction as soon as the balance of the funding, which we are currently seeking, is in place. Naming rights and sponsorship opportunities are currently available.

We expect the i360 to be operational in 2013.

Find out more here: www.brightoni360.co.uk

Update May 2013: 

Two years on and there’s no sign at all of work starting on the tower. The completion date has now been pushed back to 2015, but I wouldn’t like to take bets on that. Read more in this May 2013 feature.

More about the West Pier:

Part one: The glorious heyday and fall from grace
Part twoFurther decline and a collapse into the sea

Discuss the i360 tower on our bulletin boards.