"World's longest and tallest tunnel slide" to wrap Anish Kapoor sculpture in London's Olympic park


Bblur Architecture has won approval to wrap a giant slide around the Anish Kapoor-designed ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture in London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The London firm – which also worked with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners on a bridge that spans the roof of the O2 Arena – designed the 178-metre-long slide to loop around the sculpture and observation tower in the London 2012 Olympic park.

The slide will plummet from a 76-metre-tall viewpoint within the sculpture, with visitors reaching speeds of up to 15 miles per hour on their 40-second descent to the ground.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond was created for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

At 114.5 metres tall, the sculpture by artists Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the tallest in the UK.

Planning permission was granted to the park's Legacy Corporation yesterday, which said it will be the "world's longest and tallest tunnel slide" on its completion in spring 2016.

The tunnel that wraps around the sculpture will have an opaque red base but a transparent top. This image and main image courtesy of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The corporation plans to charge £5 per slide, a fraction of the £85 it costs to abseil from the summit of the structure.

"We are delighted to announce that planning permission has been granted to build the world's tallest and longest tunnel slide from the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit," said the park's Legacy Corporation in a statement today.

The tunnel slide will have an opaque red base but a transparent top that will give visitors views over London on their snaking journey through the latticework of the sculpture.

Drawing of the slide wrapped around the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture by Bblur Architects

Bblur Architecture has previously completed a number of infrastructure projects including a bus station with an undulating aluminium canopy in the English town of Slough and an airport terminal topped with a curving roof slab in Gibraltar.

Slides with transparent tops have also recently been installed on the side of London's Hayward Gallery, as part of an exhibition of work by artist Carsten Höller. This combination of "fun" and architecture was the subject of a recent opinion column by Owen Hatherley, who questioned if there is something more sinister at play.

  • Bowen Ng

    Twirly wurly twirly wurly twirly wurly-pay another five quid, and twirly…

  • MM

    This is what it should have been all along!

  • Donkey

    Is this not akin to putting wobbly eyes on the Mona Lisa to make it more fun? I wonder what Mr Kapoor’s reaction is to adaptation of his artwork?

    • Sam

      This is no Mona Lisa…

    • Lee Wingate

      To be honest, it looks horrendous! At least this will have some fun. I’d actually pay to go and see/use it once when it’s done. Apart from that, currently, a bit of a white elephant (in red of course).

  • James

    I’d love to know what Anish Kapoor thinks of this.

    • Andrew

      I’d love to know what Anish was thinking producing this monstrosity in the first place!

  • RichardDP

    I have always loathed this structure. This new development is both comic and ironic at the same time, and totally apt.

    You just know that there is a team of people somewhere tasked with trying to make it useful… somehow.

    • Lee Wingate

      Couple of hours in the pub should have produced this result. To be honest this is currently the only thing on Olympic Park I don’t really like at the moment.

      I’ve used the velodrome/park a number of times and that is brilliant. The stadium was superb last week at the athletics and the aquatics centre great for swimming. Although design-wise I think it looks heavy-handed and chunky!

  • Get ready for some new buildings on the skyline too: http://www.galliardhomes.com/property/londons-changing-skyline