“The eye has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris, which is to give it a symbol and let people climb above the city and look back down on it. Not just specialists or rich people, but everybody,” Sir Richard Rogers.
The London eye is situated between Westminster and Hungerford bridges on the south bank of the River Thames. One complete rotation of this huge wheel takes about half an hour, moving at a speed of ten inches per hour. With the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham palace and so much more in sight, the views from the London Eye are simply stunning.
The bigger the better
With a diameter of one hundred and twenty meters and an overall altitude of one hundred and thirty five meters, when it was completed in 1999, the London Eye was, at the time, the biggest Ferris wheel in the world. However, in 2006 the Chinese built a larger one, and in Singapore in 2008 a bigger one still was built, meaning that the London Eye is now the largest in Europe and the third biggest in the world.
The wheel contains 32 ovoidal observation pods, each weighing in at a beefy ten tonnes and each capsule can carry twenty-five people at a time. The number 32 is representative of the number of London boroughs.
A European collaboration
The making of the London Eye was a successful collaboration between various European countries. The outer rim was made in Holland, spoke cables made in Italy and the great central hub was cast at the Skoda factory in the Czech Republic. The huge bearings are German and the mighty pod capsules were made in France, bearing an excellent example of a truly united Europe.
Designers and sponsors
A multitude of architects contributed to the design and construction of this great London contemporary landmark, including Frank Anotole, Nick Bailey, Julia Barfield, Steve Chilton, Malcolm Cook, David Marks and Mark Sparrowhalk. Their structure resembles a huge spoked bicycle wheel.
Despite being only 13 years old this huge spoke bicycle wheel structure has had several sponsor and name changes. Originally called the British Airways London Eye and then the Merlin Entertainments London Eye, this incredible London landmark is currently called the EDF energy London Eye.
Not many people regret taking a ride on the London Eye as it provides a truly unique experience and unparalleled chance to explore the capital. As the celebrated British architect once said about the appeal of this modern attraction being not just for the elite but for everybody, there is only one London and there is only one London Eye and the Eye is for everybody.