The new London Cable Car
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 theriver Thames as they travel the 1.1km route between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks. Emirates Air Line (also known as the Thames Cable Car) is a Transport for London (TfL) gondola lift cable car link across the River Thames in London built with sponsorship from the air carrier Emirates. The service opened on the 28 June 2012.
The scheme, announced in July 2010 and estimated to cost £60 million, comprises a 1-kilometre (0.62 mi) cable car line that crosses the river from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. Construction began in August 2011. The cable car is based on Monocable Detachable Gondola (MDG) technology, a system which uses a single cable for both propulsion and support, such as that used on the Medellin metrocable in Colombia. The MDG system is reportedly cheaper and quicker to install than a more complex three-cable system which would allow for larger-capacity cars.
Thames Cable Car by Wilkinson Eyre with engineers Expedition, a month before the official opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Costing £60m and taking the impressively short term of two years from concept to realisation, the 1km-long Thames Cable Car stretches across the river from the O2 Arena in Greenwich to the ExCeL Exhibition Centre.
With 34 individual pods the Cable Car will be capable of transporting up to 2,500 passengers each hour in each direction at a cash fare cost of £4.30 or £6.40 for a full round trip. It is thought that whilst the majority of travellers will use the Cable Car to get from A to B, others may wish to take advantage of the 160ft-high views across the City, Canary Wharf, Greenwich, the Thames Barrier and the Olympic Park. Oyster Card-holders will be able to travel for a reduced rate.
The project has secured £36m sponsorship for the next ten years from Dubai-based airline Emirates whose name is reflected in the title of the two new Cable Car stations: Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks. These will provide two key access points for visitors to the London 2012 Olympic Games as the boxing, fencing, table tennis, martial arts and wrestling events will be held at the ExCeL Centre and the gymnastic, trampoline and basketball events will be hosted by the O2 Arena.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The Emirates Air Line is a stunning addition to London’s transport network, providing a much needed new connection across the Thames. In am sure the Emirates Air Line is now set to be a must-see destination in its own right, giving people the change to drink in breathtaking panoramic views. Crucially, the Emirates Air Line supports my ambitious plans to revive the neighbouring areas, which have been neglected for decades, creating jobs for Londoners and stimulating growth.”
Wilkinson Eyre Architects
The new cable car across the River Thames will be one of the most exciting additions to London’s infrastructure in recent years. The new crossing will provide a valuable and much needed link between the two major landmark venues of the O2 Arena and Excel Exhibition and Conference Centre. Both venues, sited either side of the river, have been the principal catalysts to the major regeneration and transformation of their respective localities; the Arena on the Greenwich Peninsula and Excel at the Royal Docks. This new physical link will provide a direct connection as well as a dramatic and memorable experience for residents and visitors.
The scheme comprises a number of distinct elements, the design of which has offered the opportunity to create a highly recognisable piece of infrastructure. The cable car should be seen as an asset to the area on which it lands on either side of the river, both in functional and in visual terms.
While the sculpted forms of the towers rising high above the Thames have the potential to become the iconic feature of the scheme, the stations at either end perform an important function as the gateways denoting the beginning and end
of what will be a memorable journey. The architecture of the stations relates to that of other elements on the system.
The design was completed and submitted for planning approval within an extremely tight timescale, and planning permission was granted by all three relevant London boroughs in February 2011. The scheme is due for completion in 2012.
Project name: The new London Cable Car (Emirates Air Line)
Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Type: Public Facilities, Infrastructure
Date: Started on site July 2011
Theme: Fast-Track,Landscape & Public Realm,Regeneration
Ideas: Exploring Boundaries
Completion Year: 2012
Client / Owner / Developer: Transport for London
Architects: Wilkinson Eyre Architects, London, England, United Kingdom
Project Architect: Alex Kyriakides
Project Director: Oliver Tyler
Structural Engineer: Expedition Engineering
Building Services Engineer: Mott MacDonald
Project Management: Mott MacDonald
Acoustic Consultant: Mott MacDonald
Lighting Designer: Speirs + Major
Landscape Design: EDCO
Text Description: © Courtesy of Wilkinson Eyre Architects, worldarchitecturenews
Images: © Wilkinson Eyre Architects