The national symbol of Britain’s technological success and innovation, the Millennium Wheel is the largest ever observation wheel of the world. Also known as the London Eye, it is located alongside the Southbank of the city, which is very accessible on any London guided tours. The wheel offers a panoramic view of the city and is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions that draw people from all over the world. Below are a few interesting facts about the Millennium Wheel.
A Competition to Choose the Planner
About a century or so ago, the Architecture Foundation and Sunday Times Newspaper conducted an open ideas competition to design the giant wheel, which was soon to become the landmark of London. Two architects named Julia Barfield and David Marks submitted their entry in 1993 for the world’s largest observatory wheel. Although all those entries that were submitted were rejected initially, Barfield and Marks did not leave their venture behind. They started their own firm to bring their ideas to life.
The endeavor of the architect duo was popularized by the Evening Standard. Graciously, a supportive British Airways backed them up. Within 16 months of their involvement, the vision of Barfield and Marks turned into life.
The makers had the idea of finishing the construction of the wheel prior to the New Year’s Eve of 1999. For the very same purpose, about 1700 experts strived hard for its completion. Their committed works saw a light at the end of the tunnel. The massive structure was installed after transporting them across the River Thames, which was obviously the first of its kind, and still, it is the only structure that has ever been built on water.
On October 1999, the giant structure was lifted from the place where it was constructed and when it was about to install, it failed due to some safety issues. Again, it was the largest raised structure from horizontal to vertical.
The ultimate design, which resembles a huge lattice bicycle wheel, was put into effect by the contractors of Norway. Another best part to note about the wheel is that it is the only cantilevered arrangement that has ever made. It has a height of 135 meters consisting of 32 capsules (that is how they are called for the structure). The capsules represent 32 boroughs of London, which were decreased from 33 in order to get rid of the unlucky 13th carriage.