In the Eye of the engineers
The London Eye is the tallest cantilevered observation wheel in the world and one of the most complex engineering projects in modern history.
Coca Cola London Eye Project summary
Millennium Wheel Company
Mark Barfield, T Clarke plc, Hollandia BV
- Start date
- August 1998
- End date
- August 2000
The wheel was constructed to a demanding and complex schedule where we coordinated multiple work packages and developed unique and innovative solutions to create significant savings in time and cost.
This included the assembly of the wheel on temporary platforms constructed in the River Thames from which they were hoisted into place during a 17 hour, two stage lift. Off-site manufacturing for the 32 passenger capsules, which were designed and fabricated in France, transported by road and then brought up the river by barge to the site, also created significant efficiencies.
The Eye has won more than 75 awards for national and international tourism, outstanding architectural quality and engineering achievement. Many of the techniques had not been attempted before and the technology was therefore unproven.
The project is still described as an ‘engineering triumph’ and has raised the profile of construction engineers with the general public.
Points of note
Heavy duty assemblyAbout 1,200 tonnes of steel were used in the construction of the Eye. That's heavier than 250 double decker buses. The assembly of the wheel took place on temporary platforms in the Thames before being pulled into a vertical position during a 17 hour, two stage lift.
Offering solutionsWe were first appointed as project manager but when the initial contractor suddenly pulled out of the project with only 12 months to go, we assumed full control of the delivery of the project, assembling and coordinating an expert team. We also coordinated the many work packages involved in the £75m project and developed unique and innovative solutions to create significant savings in time and cost.
A captured audienceEach capsule holds approximately 24 people and rotates at 0.9 km/h (0.5 mph), with one revolution taking 30 minutes.
Off site works for on site efficienciesThe assembly of the wheel took place on temporary platforms in the Thames before being lifted into position - an efficient and innovative idea as well as logistically challenging.
“It was a pleasure to be able to be part of the London Eye project and we are still very proud of our achievement to this day.”