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Emirates Air Line by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

A kilometre-long cable car designed by British architects Wilkinson Eyre has opened today over the River Thames in London.

Emirates Air Line by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Suspended 90 metres above the water, the 34 cars connect the O2 arena on the Greenwich Peninsula with the ExCeL centre at the Royal Docks, which will be the venue for a number of indoor events at this summer's Olympic games.

Emirates Air Line by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Three twisting towers will hold the cables in places, while two glazed terminals are located on either side of the river.

Emirates Air Line by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

See all our coverage of London 2012 here, including a slideshow of all the new permanent buildings.

Emirates Air Line by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Wilkinson Eyre also recently completed a giant tropical garden in Singapore - see it here.

Emirates Air Line by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

See more stories about Wilkinson Eyre Architects »

Emirates Air Line by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

Here's some more information from Wilkinson Eyre Architects:

Emirates Air Line opens to the public

First flight for London transport scheme designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects

The newest link in London’s transport network will open to the public today (28th June 2012). The infrastructure was designed by London-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects, and the Emirates Air Line cable car will lift passengers up to 90 metres above the river Thames as they travel the 1.1km route between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

The Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula are two of the most active areas of regeneration in London. The Emirates Air Line emerged as the preferred solution to provide a pedestrian link across the Thames that would support this regeneration effort.

Wilkinson Eyre was commissioned, with Expedition Engineering, as architects of the scheme after a design competition. The team had to fit the crossing in to a ‘corridor’ with numerous constraints that included a minimum 54-metre clearance for Tall Ships above the Thames, constraints in plan and section relating to City Airport, multiple landholdings and existing infrastructure.

The sculptural form of the Emirates Air Line’s three towers makes an exciting addition to the London skyline. Their open, spiralling structure merges engineering and aesthetics to provide a visually light construction that minimises perceived mass.

Wilkinson Eyre’s design for the terminals of the Emirates Air Line is for a pair of visually light, stand-alone glazed pavilions. The plan of the terminals, with their radiussed ends, reflects the path of the cabins as they pass around the drive wheels at either end of the system, engaging with the machine aesthetic inherent to the buildings. The lightweight, glazed upper storey of the design houses the boarding platforms, which cantilever outwards above the ticket office and other services, located in the core at ground level. At Emirates Royal Docks, the smaller of the two terminals, the entire structure has been built on a deck over the water of Royal Victoria Dock. The Emirates Royal Docks terminal houses the electric motor which drives the Emirates Air Line, while a garage for servicing the cabins occupies an adjoining building at the Emirates Greenwich Peninsula terminal.

Oliver Tyler, Wilkinson Eyre Architect’s Director for the project said;
“The Emirates Air Line makes a dramatic architectural statement and will help to define the emerging character of the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks. I am sure the towers will become a clearly identifiable symbol for the area and that travel Emirates Air Line will add a dash of excitement to the experience of commuting as well as become a ‘must do’ experience for visitors.”

The Emirates Air Line is fully accessible to wheelchair users and the mobility- impaired, with step free access in both terminals.

Wilkinson Eyre developed plans for the Emirates Air Line with Expedition Engineering and Mott Macdonald for Transport for London. The practice was instrumental in assisting TfL to win planning permission for the project from the London Boroughs of Newham and Greenwich as well as the approval of the Mayor’s office in early 2011. The plans were taken to completion through a Design & Build contract run by Mace, with Aedas as delivery architect.

Lead Architect: Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Project Director: Oliver Tyler Project Architect: Alex Kyriakides
Structural Engineer: Expedition Engineering
Building Services Engineer: Mott MacDonald
Project Management: Mott MacDonald
Acoustic Consultant: Mott MacDonald
Lighting Designer: Speirs + Major Landscape Design: EDCO
Client: Transport for London