See the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London

February 14, 2012 by

Travel Tips

This post is part of Viator’s coverage of the London Olympics. Leading up to the Games and every day during the Games, we’ll be posting tips from our London-based blogger, Philippa. Be sure to check back often for the latest updates on happenings around London, news on special events and tips for what to see and do in London and the surrounding area while you’re visiting!

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Putting the finishing touches on the ArcelorMittal Orbit – Photo courtesy of O.F.E. via Flickr

Who else grew up playing with Meccano?

Clearly artist Anish Kapoor grew up playing with Meccano, all those strips of metal you could bolt together to make the weirdest inventions, most of which would never fly, roll or even stand up. Here’s hoping that Kapoor’s latest vision, London‘s ArcelorMittal Orbit, stands up for many hundreds of years.

Just like the Eiffel Tower in Paris which was hated by so many when it was first built only to become the city’s beloved icon, Kapoor and Cecil Balmond’s huge red tower in London, built for the 2012 Olympics, is likely to have its haters, and its lovers also. It was finished in October 2011 but will only be opened to the public during the Olympics in July. Then people will get to experience the structure as its makers intended. By going to the top of the 377ft (115m) building and standing on the double-decker viewing platform and café, looking out across the Olympic site with a coffee in hand, or contemplating the huge red steel tube swirling around them. There is even a huge hole in the center of the viewing platform – this is not a place for those who get vertigo – so you can look down through all that metal and appreciate its sculptural elements.

The Orbit sits between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Center in Stratford, East London, and cost £22.7million ($US35.9million) to build, most of it provided by the international steel company ArcelorMittal, hence the name ArcelorMittal Orbit. 65% of the metal used was recycled – I bet the Eiffel Tower can’t make that environmentally-friendly claim.

Philippa Burne

Planning a trip? Browse Viator’s London tours and things to doLondon attractions, and London travel recommendations, or book a private tour guide in London for a customized tour!

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