£1m plan aims to boost visitor numbers - one every 37 seconds

Bblur architecture and Buro Happold have submitted plans to turn Anish Kapoor’s Orbit sculpture into Europe’s tallest and longest helter skelter.

The £1 million proposal is a case of life imitating art as the Olympic park landmark was nicknamed the helter skelter by the public when it was built. Previously all it has contained is stairs to a viewing platform. It was shortlisted for the 21012 Carbuncle Cup but lost out to Grimshaw’s Cutty Sark renovation.

The tower, designed with Ushida Findlay Architects and built with ArcelorMittal steel for the 2012 Olympic Games, is now set to be converted into a giant slide with a vertical drop of 76m.

The fully enclosed 800mm diameter stainless steel tube will match the red of the original but wind “discreetly” but “playfully” through the existing structure, according to the planning application.

It will have a polycarbonate roof near the top and bottom giving visitors a view out, plus polycarbonate portholes all the way down.

It will wrap the sculpture five times and take 37 seconds. It is likely to cost about £5 on top of the cost of the existing viewing deck admission price.

The proposal is the brainchild of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is also the planning authority, as a way of boosting visitor numbers to the Orbit which have been lower than anticipated.