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Making of The London Eye

Constructing The London Eye was a massive challenge. It’s the tallest cantilevered observation wheel in the world, rising high above the London skyline at 135 metres. It was a piece of daring innovation and revolutionary design which combined the best of British design, architecture and engineering with an exceptional team of experts.

Capsules

The London Eye passenger capsules incorporate an entirely new design form for an observation wheel. Instead of being suspended under the wheel they turn within circular mounting rings fixed to the outside of the main rim. The result is a stunning 360 degree panoramic view from the top of the wheel.

The London eye has 32 capsules, representing the 32 boroughs of London. Capsules have 360 degree views, a heating and cooling system and bench seating.

Cables

Any visitor to the London Eye can’t help but be amazed by the incredible six backstay cables holding the wheel in place. And then, when you look up you see the wheel cables stretching across the rim and the wheel. The wheel cables include 16 rim rotation cables, and 64 spoke cables, which are similar to bicycle spokes, holding the rim tight to the central spindle.

Foundation

The main foundation for the London Eye is situated underneath the A-frame legs; it required 2,200 tonnes of concrete and 44 concrete piles - each of which is 33 metres deep. The second foundation, the tension foundation holding the backstay cables behind the wheel, used 1,200 tonnes of concrete.

Spindle

At the centre of the London Eye is the vast hub and spindle. The main elements were manufactured in cast steel. The spindle itself was too large to cast as a single piece so instead was produced in eight smaller sections. Two further castings, in the form of great rings form the main structural element of the hub. The hub is a rolled steel tube forming the spacer that holds them apart. All the casting was carried out by Skoda Steel.

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Conceived and designed by Marks Barfield Architects.

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