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British Airways Opens the World’s Tallest Moving Observation Tower in Brighton, UK

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The folks at British Airways are no strangers to taking travelers to sky-high elevations. Now they’re doing it in the seaside resort town of Brighton, England — no boarding pass required.

On August 4, the airline opened its namesake British Airways i360, a 531-foot tall observation tower overlooking the English Channel. It’s also part amusement park ride.

Like the London Eye, the i360 is now both a part of the cityscape and a major tourist attraction. Attached to the tower is a doughnut-shaped glass observation pod that flies passengers about 453 feet in the air, where they’re treated to 360-degree views of the English waterfront. The pod — which can hold up to 200 passengers — has been 10 years in the making and was designed with sustainability in mind. According to Business Insider, as the pod descends, it generates almost half the energy it’ll need to rise back up.

Also like the London Eye, the i360 was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects. According to Marks, the i360 was created to serve as “a modern-day ‘vertical pier’ whose purpose is simply to delight, entertain and inspire. Its design, engineering and method of construction are innovative, just as the West Pier was in its time,” he said. “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.’”

While Brighton’s newest attraction has gotten plenty of attention from the worldwide media, like all new things, it’s already had its fair share of detractors, too — including the Independent, which declared the tower to be “an expensive and hideous eyesore” and “a piss-poor replacement for Brighton’s West Pier.” As the BBC recently reported, some locals have even dubbed it the “i-Sore.” But personal aesthetics aside, the i360 is already making its presence known by being deemed the world’s tallest moving observation tower and earning a Guinness World Record as the world’s most slender tower, so like it or not, the i-Sore is here to stay.

H/T: Business Insider

Featured image courtesy of the British Airways i360 Facebook page.

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