The i360’s blog has moved to our new website.
The site was created by local web developers Tilt, who are based near Brighton Station, and all our blog posts have been migrated across.
The blog section of the site can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.
The i360’s blog has moved to our new website.
The site was created by local web developers Tilt, who are based near Brighton Station, and all our blog posts have been migrated across.
The blog section of the site can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.
Brighton-based digital agency Tilt were recently appointed as the i360’s web developers adding another local company to the list of businesses we are working with.
While some of the specialist construction work is having to be done overseas, a number of local firms continue to be heavily involved in the building process. JT Mackley are leading on the ground preparation work for the build of the tower and will also manage the beach level construction of the event rooms, restaurant, exhibition centre and shop. Hove civil engineers Hemsley Orrell Partnership are also overseeing the construction process. Elsewhere sub-contractors C J Thornes from Uckfield were responsible for the 120m long sewer diversion that was completed earlier this year.
Thomas and Trotman Design, based in central Brighton, are supporting the team with their award-winning design and created the imagery seen on the construction site hoardings, which can be viewed by passing pedestrians and traffic, helping inform people about the scale and design of the i360. Thomas and Trotman are now developing the i360’s brochures for corporate events and weddings.
F10 Studios based in the Lanes created the visualisations of the Brighton i360, which are already being printed far and wide, bringing the architectural design to life through still, moving and interactive imagery.
Two leading local photographers have been retained to cover the i360 construction and its launch, including Kevin Meredith, who said: “As a photographer you are often given jobs where you only have a few hours to document something, which is not ideal – it’s quite hard to tell a story with images captured over such a short time period. So to be asked to document something this large over a long period of time is a fantastic opportunity.”
Landscape photographer Gary Eastwood, who was awarded the title of UK Landscape Photographer of the Year 2008 by Take-A-View for his stunning shots of Hove beach, is working alongside Mr Meredith. He said: “Being asked to photograph this project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am delighted to be joining the team.
“This project will become a part of Brighton history, so I think it’s great that the i360 team have all been recruited locally.”
Other local firms working with the i360 include Natural PR, already well known for their work to promote tourism and leisure in Brighton, including the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink and launch of the American Express Community Stadium, as well as working with major projects for the city such as the Circus Street development, Preston Barracks Scheme and E.ON’s Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.
Natural PR’s managing director Paula Seager said the firm was delighted to be working on the project: “We are very excited to be working with the Brighton i360,” she said, “which we believe will not only change the city’s sky line, but the international appeal and fortunes of Brighton and Hove well into the next century.”
Brighton-based The Ideas Factory Digital have been commissioned to create a teaser video for the new i360 website and social media channels which will feature a host of Brighton icons such as the Royal Pavilion, Palace Pier, the South Downs and Brighton and Hove Albion’s stunning American Express Community Stadium.
The i360 continues to expand its team by employing local people and earlier this year became the first tourism business to sign up to the city’s Living Wage campaign.
Eleanor Harris, chief executive of the i360, said: “Our team is growing continuously and we are determined to contribute to the economy on every level by working with local companies, employing local people and making sure that everything we do is positive for Brighton and Hove.
“There is a wealth of talent here in Brighton and Sussex and wherever possible we want to work with local businesses.”
The Brighton i360 has hired local digital agency Tilt to design its new website.
Formed in 2010 and initially housed in an old motor cycle workshop, Tilt has fast-established itself as a well-respected and market-leading digital agency and boasts a range of impressive clients, including BP, the BBC and children’s TV network Nickeldeon.
And the Brighton i360 will be the latest in a long line of local firms and organisations to work with Tilt. The digital experts have already paired with South Downs National Park Authority, Visit Brighton and the Theatre Royal.
Jon Malyon: Tilt’s managing director, said “We are delighted to be partnering the i360 and our team are genuinely excited about the project.
“As a Brighton firm, this was a project we really wanted to be part of. The i360 is going to be really positive for the city and it is brilliant to be able to play a part in that.
“It was one of those opportunities that does not come around very often but locally the i360 was THE project to win.
Tilt, which is based Pullman Haul, New England Street, has around 20 full time members of staff but can also call upon a vast network of freelancers, meaning the team is able to cater specifically for each client.
“We are all about providing a bespoke team,” continued Mr Malyon, “offering each client their own unique team and approach. Our clients are very varied, meaning our team has to be flexible to suit each project. It keeps us on our toes, means we get the best out of our team and also helps us be creative.”
Eleanor Harris, chief executive of the i360, said there had never been any doubt that the i360 would work with a local digital firm. She said: “There is a wealth of talent here in Brighton and Sussex and where possible we want to work with local businesses.
“Brighton is now one of the leading digital hubs in the UK and so we are excited to work with a talented Brighton-based agency.
“We had an overwhelmingly positive response with around 50 expressions of interest from Brighton digital firms and submissions from nearly 30 businesses wanting to work with us.
“In the end Tilt was the obvious choice. Their enthusiasm for the i360 and creativity really shone through.”
The list of local firms commissioned to support the Brighton i360 is growing and the i360 recently signed up to the Brighton and Hove Living Wage Campaign.
Eleanor Harris continued: “Our team is growing continuously and we are determined to contribute to the economy on every level by working with local companies, employing local people and making sure that everything we do is positive for Brighton and Hove.”
Another local firm hired to work on the project is The Ideas Factory Digital, which has been commissioned to create a teaser video for the new i360 website and social media. This will feature many Brighton icons such as the Royal Pavilion, Palace Pier, the band stand and the South Downs National Park.
The new website will go live in May.
1. Enjoy a fun family day out at the award-winning Drusillas in Alfriston and say hello to the resident meerkats!
2. Take a stroll along the heritage coast from Beachy Head to Seven Sisters or tackle the entire South Downs Way trail.
3. Enjoy an opera and a picnic at the internationally-acclaimed Glyndebourne House.
4. Take a wine tour at one of the award-winning Sussex sparkling wineries such as Ridgeview or Nyetimber.
5. Visit one the county’s beautiful castles. Bodiam and Arundel are among the best.
6. Enjoy the art on display at some of Sussex’s cultural hotspots, which include Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and Bexhill’s wonderful De La Warr Pavilion.
7. Marvel at 900 years of history at Chichester Cathedral.
8. Take a ride on the wonderful Bluebell Railway and relax as the beautiful Sussex countryside passes by.
9. Enjoy a day at the races: Goodwood, Brighton Racecourse or Fontwell Racecourse are all brilliant venues.
10. Spend the weekend in Brighton – nightlife, dining, shopping, stroll along beach and go on the pier. So much to see and do – it’s more than a day trip!
Many of you will have seen David Marks, the architect behind the i360, on BBC South East recently. David travelled with the BBC television crew to the Hollandia factory in Rotterdam for a first-hand look at the 17 tower cans due to arrive on Brighton beach this June.
We thought the news piece had a real impact. Having worked on a muddy site for many months, it was a real thrill to see the shiny steel cans in the factory and know that in less than 3 months they will be here! For those of you that missed the show, here are some more photos from the trip…
David and the crew were shown around the factory by Wim van’t Hof, Senior Project Manager and Works Director, Hollandia. The cans behind him have had their flanges attached, bolt holes drilled through and are currently being painted with a protective coating to withstand the elements.
The bolt holes have been drilled using CNC boring machines (above). The can above looks a rusty colour because it has not yet gone through the cleaning and painting process.
In most of the images the cans are hollow, but we spied a bar running across this one above. David reports that this is a temporary jig for centring the can to enable accurate setting out for the various cleats which will be welded inside the can to support ladders, platforms, counterweight guiderails, dampers, cable trays and everything else that needs to be supported inside.
Everything needs to be welded into place in Rotterdam, while the cans are in a factory-controlled environment. While David was there, the team were busy working on the counterweight guiderails which will be fixed inside the cans and will guide the counterweight up and down.
They also had the stainless steel abseil rail that will be fitted on top of the upper-most can at the top of the tower.
A lot of people are curious about how we will fit the first can into the ground and while they were at the factory, it became clear. We will use an anchor bolt frame (above) that is pre-assembled in Holland. It will be cast into the main foundation ready for us to bolt the first tower can down.
Although the pod is being built in France, some elements of the mechanism need to be fitted into the tower cans before they arrive in Brighton. The bull wheels and counterweight guide-wheels (above) were shipped from Poma, our French team, to arrive in Rotterdam recently.
Here the counterweight is being pre-assembled in a temporary frame before being delivered to site. The white ‘block’ above the Hollandia sign is made up of thick steel white painted ‘plates’ which are stacked up to form the counterweight. The red bull-wheel is being lowered into the counterweight where it will carry the steel rope which will lift and lower the counterweight.
David and the BBC crew really got a sense of the scale of the tower, something that Brightonians will probably only begin to appreciate when the boats arrive in June. It was a fantastic trip and we hope the photos have got you as excited as we are about the tower build!
The Brighton i360 is going to be a fantastic attraction – but it is also going to offer more than breath-taking views of the city and the Sussex countryside.
There will be a 400-seat brasserie on the site serving the very best in Sussex produce.
And, not only will the food be made from the best local ingredients, it will also be created by some of the best local chefs – including previous MasterChef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards.
The talented chef will collaborate with leading venue caterer Centerplate when the brasserie opens next year.
Centerplate won the Brighton i360 catering contract against some of the biggest names in the business and has teamed up with Mr Edwards – who has also a former winner of Sussex Young Chef of the Year – to plan an array of tasty signature dishes for the brasserie’s menu, using ingredients from the South Downs and coastal waters.
Mr Edwards will be joined on the project by Josh Stanzl – the co-founder and director of his events catering company, etch. Together they bring a wealth of experience to the i360 brasserie and a track-record of producing attractive, creative and original dishes.
Speaking after today’s announcement, an enthusiastic Mr Edwards said: “Josh and I are really looking forward to working with this amazing new venue.
“We are Sussex chefs through and through and have a fantastic larder to choose from.
“We will always use quality local ingredients to create unique simple dishes focusing on getting the most out of each ingredient we use.”
The Centerplate team will also cater for the exciting new event rooms suitable for private events for 10 to 800 people – making the i360 a perfect venue for weddings, corporate events and private dining, with their own private beach terrace and stunning sea views.
Eleanor Harris, CEO of the Brighton i360, who announced the partnership earlier today (March 18), said: “I am delighted to be working with Centerplate, who have proved that they can cater well for thousands of visitors at top attractions, theatres and stadia across the country.
“Our goal is to create a destination brasserie, serving the best of Sussex and we are particularly thrilled to welcome Steven and his etch. co-founder Josh Stanzl on board, bringing with them AA and Michelin kitchen experience and adding a special local flavour to our offer.
“We will serve the superb ingredients that are reared, grown, caught and brewed within the 26 mile viewing radius that you can see from the i360.
“We see the area around the i360 developing into a real dining destination where diners can come knowing they will be able to enjoy delicious food by the seafront.
“As well as the i360 brasserie, diners can choose from all the restaurants on Preston Street: Al Fresco and Riddle and Finns on the beach; GB1 in the Grand; the New Club, Regency Restaurant and newly opened The Salt Room. Diners will be spoiled for choice and we are delighted to be in such great company.”
Nigel Hutson, Director of Operations – Heritage for Centerplate, was equally excited: He said: “The Brighton i360 is going to be an international icon and world-renowned visitor attraction and we are very pleased to be part of this exciting venture.
“In developing the catering and hospitality offering at this new venue, we are being very mindful of the broad spectrum of customers who will be visiting the i360’s facilities.
“We want to encourage members of the local community and families on a day out to pop in for refreshments throughout the day, whilst also offering a selection of signature dishes which will appeal to discerning diners in the evenings.
“What will unite all of the dishes on the menus is the focus on seasonal and locally-sourced produce, and bringing Steven and Josh into the mix will create some further excitement around the signature dishes on our brasserie and event menus which will be regularly refreshed.”
To celebrate the London Eye’s 15th birthday we offered visitors to our Facebook page the chance to win one of 15 pairs of tickets to the attraction. All they had to do was Like our page and tell us why they were excited about the Brighton i360.
The London Eye was designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield – the same people behind the Brighton i360 – and was recently voted the 14th most-iconic British design of all time.
Anyhow, the winners – and their posts – are, in no particular order:
1. Dean Fennemore: i spy with my little i…Brighton Bold. Bright n Beautiful. Innovation and vision, imagination for the modern day Brighton, just like the piers, Pavilion and Aquarium when those ideas were conceived. From the ashes of the West Pier, a phoenix will rise. It will then be the envy of many and interest will thrive when a sibling ‘i’ will reach for the sky, somewhere else in this world. Give it a chance and open your eyes and you may just be surprised.
2. Tina Ledford: London is one of the most elegant cities in the world. In my opinion a city’s true beauty can be seen as you rise above the ground. London Eye gives that perfect opportunity to experience that beauty from rising above the city. Brighton has much scenery which attracts tourists from everywhere and it sure deserves a masterpiece of modern architecture like the London Eye. I am looking forward to enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the beauty of this elegant city of Brighton, it sure will leave us with a sense of admiration of the modern architecture which crafted this grand design.
3. Laura Forbes: Wow I’m super excited! It sounds brill would love to see the views of Brighton from that height! It would make a fab pressie for out 10-year anniversary! Brighton is beautiful from ground level – I can’t wait to see what it looks like from up in the sky would be amazing. It’s nice to see something so cool being built in Brighton will bring lots more tourist a great attraction , more of an excuse to come and spend a few nights away with the family as well.
4. Ella Smith: I can’t wait for the i360 to be completed – I love Brighton as it is, so it will be amazing to see it from that high up. Not just because I love the place already, but I’ve done huge projects on Brighton and the Regency period in a few of my lessons now, so it will be so interesting to be able to see the buildings, especially the Pavilion, from a whole new angle. I think it will be great for both locals and visitors to the area to give them a whole new perspective of the place they’ve either been living in, or have come to visit. It will give people a chance to experience a whole new level (quite literally,) of the city. I’m really looking forward to it being completed as it’s my birthday in the summer, and I think it will be a really cool thing to do to celebrate with some friends when it is completed!
5. Sapphira Gahan Large: Never visited before but can’t wait to come and experience the i360, it looks so futuristic and would be a great place to mark important milestones such as anniversaries and birthdays. Me and my partner have been together for five years on the 5th April, and he has never been on the London Eye so I’d really love to take him. And next year we are planning a weekend trip to Brighton and we will be heading straight for the i360!
6. Michelle Tev Jones: I have never had the opportunity to get on the London Eye – always had the kids with myself n hubby and queues were too long. Looks so pretty at night. Now the Brighton 360 looks amazing. This will be another fantastic attraction for this country and no doubt will be absolutely beautiful at night.
7. John Paul: Really excited about the prospects of a London Eye sibling in Brighton – I remember cycling by the London Eye whilst it was under construction and being hoisted into place on the Thames in the late 90s. The Brighton i360 will bring back an element of ‘the seaside’ to the city sea front and provide a 21st Century identity to rival the piers of Brighton’s past. I can’t wait to experience the view across the city and sea, when it’s complete.
8. Helena Sailor: Entered this lovely image combining the London Eye and a seagull:
9. Michael Sullivan: We are so excited we want to help build it quicker! I’m most looking forward to the breath-taking experience and Shane is most looking forward to me being a wreck again. I love heights. NOT! It is entertainment for Shane apparently. And we both think it will bring love, joy and happiness! Think of the first proposal! Exciting times! Anyway we spent Valentines day on the London Eye so next time its The Brighton i360.
10. Pete Newsholme: The i360 is set to become the signature of Brighton, an iconic demonstration of the spirit of Brighton. As you drive along the seafront by day, or night it will have a wow factor as big as the Eiffel Tower in its own sleek and slender way. To ride the I360 will be purely magical. As you glide upwards in the air conditioned pod, the landscape beneath you will slowly unfold giving a view unparalleled in the whole of the United Kingdom. By day the rich blue of the sea, the beautiful rolling hills of the South Downs and in between, the varied architecture that makes the city of Brighton, will all be seen from one point. By night the sea will shimmer in the moonlight and the lights twinkle in the distance as you rise above this magnificent city. I’m looking forward to every bit of this wonderful creation.
11. Samantha Cole: Being from London means I know how beautiful and iconic the London Eye is to the city and will therefore create the same effect in Brighton, it will look beautiful along the sea front and give residents and tourists a new attraction to look at the beautiful coast line of the UK.
12. Andy Pike: People have been visiting piers for over 100 years to enjoy wonderful views of the coast. So it’s fitting that the i360 – on the same site as Brighton’s beloved old West Pier – will enable this generation to do exactly the same.
13. Robert Haddock: The London Eye is a shinning example of how good, well crafted modern design can blend old with new. The i360 promises to achieve the same. Simple and elegant in design, we will rise above the city.
14. Grant Thurlow: Brighton is a beautiful place bustling with vibrancy. To be able to witness it’s beauty from such a height will be nothing less than breath-taking. I have been to London so many times as I adore it, there is so much to see, hear and feel. Each corner brings you somewhere new and exciting.
I have rode The Eye and although terrified of heights, I felt a sense of solace as I looked out across one of my favourite cities and admired it’s structure. I look forward to the i360.
15. Martin Williams: The i360 will be a fabulous landmark, not to mention offer amazing Views! The London Eye was meant to be a temporary celebration now look at its dominance as a London attraction! So much so I got married to the gorgeous Michelle Williams on it, to win this would be a fabulous anniversary treat.
This week marks the 15th anniversary of the London Eye – designed by the team behind the Brighton i360 and still the UK’s most-visit paid for tourist attraction.
To celebrate the landmark, we caught up with architects David Marks and Julia Barfield to find out more about how they turned a dream into reality and also how excited they are about the opening of the i360…
Let’s start at the beginning, how did the London Eye come about?
David: “It started with a competition launched by the Sunday Times in association with the Architectural Foundation in 1993. They were seeking ideas for what were we going to do, as a nation, to celebrate the Millennium.
“There was no specific brief, no specific site and certainly no specific commitment to actually build anything, but there was a commitment to publish the winning designs in the Sunday Times. We thought this was a good opportunity to get some publicity for our fledgling practice and bring ourselves to the attention of potential clients.”
That sounds like a dream brief. So you could come up with anything you like?
David: “There was a complete free hand, it was an ideas competition. There was an inspirational article talking about, the Great Exhibition and Crystal Palace, the Exposition Universelle and Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Festival of Britain and Dome of Discovery – about great events, great modern age celebratory events. What we had to consider was what was the Millennium all about, how were we going to celebrate it and what would be an appropriate landmark.”
So why the wheel?
David: “Our idea was to provide London with what many cities around the world have but London lacked – a publicly accessible vantage point to see the city as a whole, and from a fresh perspective.
“We wanted to create something accessible to everyone. The idea of the wheel allowed us to create an effortless way to get a lot of people up very, very high.”
Julia: “Also we thought it should be about celebration. It was to mark a particular point in time so it should be a project which should be uplifting, so that was part of our criteria that it should be something out of the ordinary and something which would put a smile on people faces.”
So what happened next?
David: “Well, we didn’t actually win the competition, nobody did. But we thought, why don’t we just try and do it anyway?
“It took six and a half years. I think most people at the time didn’t take it, or us, seriously and there was a fair amount of opposition to it initially but that changed radically over time.
“We had a lot of challenges to overcome but we were always convinced we could do it.”
The London Eye really captured the imagination of the public when it was floated up the Thames to its site by County Hall on the South Bank.
David: “Yes, there was a fantastic buzz and excitement around the project. When it didn’t go up the first time and Richard Branson floated a balloon over the construction site with a sign on it that said “British Airways can’t get it up”, apart from being quite funny, I think it dawned on people how challenging the whole project was.
“We were, I believe, actually lifting the largest object ever lifted from vertical to horizontal, and we were doing it in the middle of London, right in the centre of the city.
“This was a project with huge engineering challenges and a lot of engineering innovation. It was almost Victorian in its scale, vision, and its engineering.
“For people to see something like that in the centre of the city, lining the bridges and the embankments to watch was just phenomenal. There were approximately one thousand people involved in the construction in one way or another from all over Europe, pulling this thing together. It was a fantastic feeling that this was coming together, we had an amazing team and amazing support.
“Everyone who was involved feels tremendously proud of their involvement.”
One of the benefits of the London Eye is that it has breathed new life into that area of London, would you say that is true?
Julia: “Certainly. It has transformed the South Bank.
“When we were doing it there was a statistic that apparently 1.5million people a year used to go across Westminster Bridge, get half way across, take a picture of Big Ben and then walk back into Westminster. The riverside walk between County Hall and the Tate Modern used to be deserted. Now it is one of the best walks in London and it is absolutely packed.”
Presumably you envisage a similar effect in Brighton with the i360?
Julia: “Absolutely. People do like large engineering structures. There is a fascination in that kind of scale of ambition and engineering. People like to get high up and make sense of things. It is like a mountain in the middle of the city but you don’t have to do any climbing.
“The 360 view is really important as well. What we did in London was drew a circle around London and found its centre which is basically there on the south bank. It is the epicentre of Greater London.”
And something which can be enjoyed by people of any age?
Julia: “Yes. What we really like about it is that Londoners have taken it to their hearts. It isn’t just meant for visitors, it is for Londoners to appreciate their own city. The fact that one per cent of ticket sales go to local community, like they will in Brighton, means there is a benefit which goes to the local community, and in perpetuity.”
Talking of Brighton, how did the i360 idea come about? Were you conscious about moving away from the wheel design for your next project?
Julia: “After the London Eye lots of people came to us and said we want one of those, we want a wheel, but we quickly realised there are not many cities which can support something of that size and scale of construction costs and also what it takes to run it.
“We then came up with the idea of the i360 which basically replicates the experience but is much more affordable for many cities around the world.”
So why Brighton?
David: “We did look at lots of UK cities but Brighton is much better than anywhere else we looked at: It was an established tourist destination; there were other attractions there but not too many and no other observation experience; there was nothing there to compete with it; it was highly accessible – 30 per cent of the population of England lives within a two-hour reach of Brighton; it gets lots of overseas visitors; it has a brilliant international brand; it is a cool place; there is the beach; it is a different experience to London; and it is a city with a history of innovation and is more forward looking than any other seaside city or town in the UK. It was a fairly obvious choice.”
And it will bring other benefits to the city?
David: “This is not just a money making exercise – although it will of course generate money for the city and its investors – but it does much more than that.
“It is a regeneration project, it will create jobs, it will bring more people to the city, it will encourage them stay longer, it will fill their day more, it will encourage them to visit other attractions. The reason we are doing it is because we want it to be doing those things for Brighton.
How did you come up with the design?
David: “It starts in the imagination, it starts with a dream and then you design it with other design professionals and then you make it real. You work with contractors.”
You’ve just been to visit the team in Holland who are helping with construction, how was that?
David: “It is really impressive to see it being built. The cans are all in different stages of production, they’ve all had their flanges welded on, they are being painted. I saw the bull wheel being mounted into the counterweight. There is a lot of working happening all over and it is fantastic to see it all coming together.
“It is a big piece of engineering. The nuts and bolts are big. There are bolts which are three metres long. The holding-down bolt frame assembly weighs about 30 tonnes. The whole tower with everything in it weighs about 1,200 tonnes. This is big engineering stuff. It is lighter than the London Eye but it is still very big and very impressive and it is fantastic to feel part of that.”
“We love working with engineers. They are the great unsung heroes of the modern age. We think the collaboration of sensitive architecture with brilliant engineering is unbeatable.”
Lastly, why the coast?
Julia: “The i360 is a bit like a vertical pier, that is why its position near the site of the old West Pier is so perfect.
“The point of a pier is to go out to the end and not look out to sea but to look back at the city and that is what the i360 does.”
We’re in! After months of preparing to break in to the Victorian sewer, the team stayed on-site all Thursday night to undertake the delicate task of opening up the brickwork pipe, completing the job in the early hours of Friday morning.
Every build has to prepare the ground for foundations, but not many have to deal with a Victorian sewer system that still functions as the main sewer in Brighton and Hove.
The sewer pipe has to be 5.5m away from the perimeter of our beach building, so over the last few months our contractors – Mackley and Thornes – have built 120m of concrete tunnel, as well as four manholes – 1 at each junction. Junctions 1 and 2 are where our new pipe connects to the Victorian sewer and for months the two pipes have sat next to each other as we discuss the best possible method to connect them.
When you are diverting a main sewer, environmental and community impact must be taken into account; the type of sewer and water flow must be considered and in our case, an intricate understanding of the integrity of Victorian brickwork is needed. Mackley and Thornes, our contractors, had to look at where we would break in and how we would manage the sewage flow whilst we connected the old and new pipes.
Many different methods were brought to the table, each using a potentially smelly process that involved pumping out the sewage from the manhole outside the West Pier Arches shops. We then had a stroke of genius… what if we dispensed with the generator and did not pump the sewage at all?
By using a clever piece of kit that looks like an inflatable doughnut, the plan was to literally bung up the sewer and, instead of pumping the flow via an external pipe, direct the flow into our newly built diversion pipe. Because it is inflatable, we could then build up around the bung and, once complete, enter the manhole and pull the plug on the inflatable. The new plan was faster, more environmentally aware, put less pressure on the sewer system and meant we could do all the work within the confines of the i360 site – what’s not to like about that?!
The next step was to put the plan in action.
The brickwork sewer pipe was the first big problem – it is clever in design, shaped like an egg rather than a circle as this is a stronger shape. It is incredibly difficult to take apart – if you are too ‘gung-ho’, smashing a great section, the bricks could cave in. Instead the team had to anchor bolt the top section and cut away the bricks in small sections. In some places the bricks were 5 deep, so this took some time!
Once a section had been completely freed, it was lifted by crane. This gave the team the first look into the Victorian sewer – sealed up since 1869! Southern Water were here for the momentous manoeuvre. They are keen to take the sections of wall for display; the old sandstone bricks are still in remarkably good condition.
Of course as we sorted out manhole 1, work was well underway on manhole 2. We can’t divert the flow in and not out again! The bungs were put in place and quickly inflated to the right pressure. The tubes that run through the centre were attached to solid pipes that fed into and out of corresponding bungs in our new system. Et voila!
But would it all work? The flow is low in the middle of the night, but all eyes were on manholes 3 and 4 within our site. We should at least see some water pass through the pipe…
It started with a trickle, but as the night progressed, the waters flowed.
It was in the early hours of the morning that the team raised a cheer. Brighton… you have been diverted!
Walking around the site on Friday morning, we had a look down the various manholes (not that smelly!) and talked about the process with Stuart, a Southern Water Delivery Engineer, ‘Hats off to them, it was an incredible bit of engineering’. His colleague was quick to point out ‘virtual hats’ of course – we are on a building site after all!
Now that we have the diversion in place, the redundant section beneath our building will be excavated and removed ready for our foundations. Anything that falls outside of our building will be filled in with concrete. If you are interested in the Victorian sewer, head down to the site as you may well see parts of it this week.