London Eye, London
Towering 443 ft (135m) above the South Bank of the the River Thames in London, this enormous observation wheel has become one of the city's most familiar landmarks. Remarkably, the project was conceived without official backing or even the support of a developer. The husband-and-wife team of architects responsible for its design, David Marks and Julia Barfield, drew up initial plans around their kitchen table and campaigned tirelessly to see their vision realized before striking up a partnership with the airline British Airways.
The battle to obtain planning permission took two years and, in the light of the site's sensitive location opposite the Palace of Westminster, the matter was even discussed in Parliament. But once the go-ahead was given, the London Eye was completed in just 16 months, despite the fact that almost every component and technique involved had to be invented from scratch.
The giant wheel proved hugely popular from the moment it opened on the eve of the millennium. More than four million people take a "flight" each year, making it the city's third most popular attraction after the British Museum and the Tate Gallery.
Revolutionary Design Although based on the concept of the Ferris wheel, the London Eye is a new and far more sophisticated form of observation wheel. Instead of hanging from the rim as they revolve, the 32 air-conditioned capsules stand clear of the perimeter so that views are not interrupted by the structure as they rise. With the wheel moving at a constant speed of 26 centimeters per second, passengers step into the capsules from a ground-level platform while those who have already the trip alight.
Up to 800 people can be carried at a time, but without the need to stop and start, the finely balanced mechanism consumes only 0.5 watts (500Kw) of tricity, costing just a few cents per passenger.
Since its opening, the sucess of the London Eye has inspired rival projects in Las Vegas and Singapore that may in time displace its world pre-eminence in terms of size, but it will remain one of London's best-loved examples of architectural exuberance. The view over the city of London you can see from inside the capsule of the london eye is an attraction that can not be missed when visiting the city of London. You can enjoy taking a few pictures and enjoy the panoramic view that this wonderful piece of design provides ...
During the construction process individual sections of the Eye were carried up the Thames on barges and assembled in a flat position on platforms of steel piles. Once it was complete, the wheel was then hoisted upright, using four jacks pulling 144 steel strands to raise it at a rate of two degrees an hour. Before it was edged into its permanent position, the wheel remained at 65 degrees for a week while final adjustments were made. At the time, it was believed to be the largest object ever raised from a horizontal to a vertical position.