21
Dec

2011

Emirates Air-Line Completes First Tower

Post by Steven Dale

The first of three towers is completed for the London Thames Cable Car (Emirates Air Line).

The Londonist has a photo from Transport for London of the first completed tower for the forthcoming Emirates Air-Line. According to the Londonist, the tower is the shortest of the three but – even still – is over 60 meters high!

Now it’s incredibly hard to make any comments on the aesthetics of something merely from a single picture. But it’s worth taking note of a few things right from the start:

  • The open spiral design is absolutely inspired. It makes the tower feel far more light-weight and airy than it is. I sincerely hope the “interior” of the tower is lit at night so as to allow the entire structure to “glow” from within.
  • I understand that to speed construction, the sheave assemblies (the stuff the gondolas travel over) were necessarily off-the-shelf components plugged into the custom tower infrastructure. Nevertheless, the two components don’t quite seem to co-exist well with one another. They don’t feel like a united whole.
  • The sharp, machete-like sheave supports should be thrilling to ride next to.
  • As anyone who owns a white car can attest to, this thing is going to be a monster to keep clean.
  • As the impetus for this system was arguably next summer’s Olympic Games in London, I can’t help but wonder if the tower designers were intentionally going for a design that looks like an Olympic torch.

The tower automatically inspires questions about it’s implications not for the MDG technology for which it’s based, but instead for larger 3S systems. As we’ve seen before in Koblenz, 3S tower infrastructure has a lot to be desired from a design perspective. But if you consider just how oversized and massive these towers are for MDG systems, could a similar design be used in a 3S application.

If so, one of the biggest complaints about the technology are effectively rendered moot. That is, of course, if you think this tower is beautiful. Which I’m sure not everyone will.

 



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