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Sky High Views

We just finished the judging for the 2014 Metal Architecture Design Awards, so be sure to stay tuned for the July issue when the winners will be announced. Since it's been a crazy couple of weeks around here, here's a fun project blog post for your Thursday afternoon....

arcelormittal orbit, blog post, metal architecture, marcy marroOnce upon a time, in what feels like another lifetime, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit London during a three-city European vacation that we took with some friends. While I'm sure things have changed a bit in the time since I've been there, one of the biggest changes may be to the skyline.

On April 5, the ArcelorMittal Orbit re-opened, becoming the tallest sculpture in the U.K., and the only one visitors can experience inside and out. Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Belmond designed it as an icon for the 2012 Olympic Games. The cutting-edge attraction symbolizes the energy and creativity of London. Construction on the sculpture began in November 2010, and was completed in late 2011. It opened in May 2012 and remained open during the Games, closing in September 2012 for post-game Legacy development and regeneration.

At 375.66 feet tall, it has two viewing platforms offering 20-mile views of London. The top viewing platform is 262.47 feet in the sky, offering views in all directions, including Big Ben, St. Paul's, Canary Wharf, Wembley stadium, and London's newest park, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The largest single regeneration project in the U.K., the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to the Copper Box Arena, Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley Velopark, the Stadium, and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

arcelormittal orbit, metal architecture, blog post, marcy marroMade up of 2,000 tons of steel, 35,000 bolts and approximately 5,019 gallons of paint, the structure's vibrant red color signifies luck in many eastern cultures. Almost 60 percent of the steel used was recycled, reinforcing the Games' reputation for sustainability.

Centered around a tripod base, the structure forces visitors to have a lateral mind shift as the double loops-which are actually one continuous line-wrap around the viewer, animating the journey through the sculpture. Vast concave mirrors within the lower viewing platform, at 249.34 feet, dramatically bring the sky inside. An external enclosed spiral staircase is designed to make visitors feel as if they are orbiting around the structure as they descend.

Sounds interesting to me. Hope I can find my way back there someday to check it out. Would you dare to explore the ArcelorMittal Orbit? What other sculptures, observation towers, etc., have you seen in your travels? I would love to hear all about them.

Images: ArcelorMittal Orbit


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