The view from up here: David Marks on the UK’s most ambitious tourism project

Wednesday 11th November, 2015 | 18.30-19.30 followed by drinks

Studio Egret West
3 Brewhouse Yard

It took David Marks and Julia Barfield six years to build the London Eye and at one point they had both their house and whole livelihood on the line.

But the experience didn’t dampen their passion to design and build another ambitious contemporary landmark and in 2005 they began planning the next project, utilising the same cable-car technology to create an incredible visitor experience.

The result is Brighton i360, an aerodynamic pod that will rise up a slender steel spire to a height of 138 metres above sea level, taking around 10 minutes to reach the top, now under construction on Brighton’s beach.

But the project almost collapsed in 2008 under the global financial crisis, challenging the architects to seek more innovative forms of funding to get it built.

In the first London talk on Brighton i360, David Marks will reveal what it has taken to build the country’s most ambitious and sustainable tourism project and why an entrepreneurial spirit is missing from architecture.



David Marks and Julia Barfield met at the Architectural Association in 1974. They set up their practice in 1990 after working for Richard Rogers and Norman Foster respectively.

Their passion for engineering drove their first major project, a giant Ferris wheel on London’s South Bank, now known as the London Eye.
Whether a large project like Brighton i360 or a small one, like the Spiral Cafe in Birmingham, their approach turns complex and challenging briefs into solutions that have a sophisticated simplicity.

Its current projects include the Cambridge Mosque, the University of Cambridge Primary School and Aldabra House, Seychelles. The practice is also shortlisted for two important new bridge commissions: Tintagel Bridge in Cornwall and Nine Elms Bridge, a £40 million footbridge across the Thames in west London.