London Eye architect plans landmark viewing tower for 2012 Games

The London Olympic Games visitor centre could take the shape of a futuristic observation tower under plans drawn up by Marks Barfield, the architect that designed the London Eye.

The firm won a commission to draw up the initial designs and is understood to favour an aerodynamic viewing pod that moves up and down a central spire.

This will be based on the architect’s i360 tower in Brighton, which received planning permission in October. At 183m, the i360 will be the tallest observation tower in Britain. The pod will fit 100 people in it at a time.

The architect said it wanted to create the 2012 visitor centre early in the construction of the Olympics so people could watch the site develop.

David Marks, the co-founder of the firm, said: “As well as giving visitors the chance to experience amazing aerial views of the Olympic developments beneath them, the facility could attract interest in its own right, being potentially the first landmark building in the Olympic park.”

He continued: “After the Games it would sit comfortably alongside the cutting-edge buildings that will comprise the Olympic park, and become a long-term attraction, allowing visitors to celebrate the heritage of 2012 and the new environment around them.”

An Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) spokesperson said: “We have commissioned a feasibility study into options for developing a visitor centre. We expect it to be complete by next spring.”

  • The ODA is searching for contractors to build the utilities and infrastructure for the Olympic park in east London. The services will be jointly procured with Stratford City Development.