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A £5-million plan to build a glass observation pod above Bath has been revealed

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Written by: Liza-Jane Gillespie | Posted 16 September 2015 15:21

A £5-million plan to build a glass observation pod above Bath has been revealed

A £5-million plan to build a glass observation pod rising 65 metres above Bath has been revealed.

AquEye will be architecturally unique attraction that will rise above the city offering visitors and residents unrivalled aerial views across the World Heritage city.

Designed in Bath by award-winning architect Nicholas Stubbs, AquEye is a revolving glass observation pod suspended between two slim, carbon fibre masts that rises from a horizontal position to a height of 65m, offering 360 degree views over the city’s Georgian rooftops.

Built on Pulteney Weir Island, just below the 18th century Pulteney Bridge, AquEye’s contemporary glass capsule will accommodate up to 25 passengers who will embark from Parade Gardens’ riverside lawn.

The capsule will swing out over the river and in just 20 seconds will lift passengers up above the roof tops to AquEye’s full height, revealing stunning views over the Georgian city, including Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge, the Bath Rugby stadium and the seven hills surrounding the city. The full experience will take 20 minutes and could be experienced by over 250,000 guests a year.

Mr Stubbs said: “AquEye will be a global first for Bath and its hi-tech, low-profile design has been created specifically for heritage locations.

“Having worked as an architect in Bath for over 25 years I well understand the sensitivities of this World Heritage city. Although brilliant, I could not see the London Eye working here, so I wanted to develop something that would offer a similar breath-taking aerial experience, but in a way which was both elegant and unobtrusive. AquEye will lift people high enough to enjoy and interpret the city from above, but will be low profile enough to preserve Bath’s traditional views, as AquEye’s resting position is down and so doesn’t interrupt the city skyline. It’s also a dynamic  work of art in its own right; the future celebrating the past of this wonderful, beautifully innovative city.”

Mr Stubbs said the reaction he has recieved to the plan had been positive.

He said: “I have really been quite blown over by how positive people have been.

“Even people who I would have thought wouldn’t like it have surprised me by being quite positive.”

David James, Head of Bath Tourism Plus, saying “AquEye is a world first. It’s beautifully inventive and will be a fantastic addition to Bath. It will bring extra visitors to the city, create jobs and further boost the local economy. It’s a very exciting project and we’re really looking forward to it.”

While AquEye would be a world first in terms of design, Mr Stubbs said the idea of a viewing platform is not a new one, mentioning the London Eye, the Eiffel Tower and the Seers Tower as examples.

“There’s a lot of desire to see places from high up,” he said.

A crowdfunding campaign will be launched in November to support the full planning and development of AquEye. Supporters of the concept will be able to donate to the campaign in exchange for AquEye gifts and experiences.

AquEye’s design is already at an advanced stage and the AquEye team has been working closely with a wide range of leading research and engineering companies, including Magma Structures – designers and makers of the world’s tallest free-standing carbon fibre masts, such as the Maltese Falcon superyacht; the University of Bath; the Wolfson Unit at Southampton University; and the National Composites Centre in Bristol, which develops carbon fibre technology for Airbus and Rolls Royce.

Subject to planning permission, AquEye will begin operation in spring / summer 2017. AquEye is a founding member of the Percent Club (www.thepercentclub.com) and will donate10 per cent of profits to charity.

Anyone who would like to find out more about AquEye can visit the Little Southgate Shopping Centre in Bath on Saturday from 11am to 5pm, where they will be able to view a video of the project, see a 1:50 scale model, download the AquEye augmented reality app to create a large ‘holographic’ image of AquEye in action, and go into a prize draw to win a pair of AquEye tickets to be one of the first in the world to fly AquEye before it opens to the public. For further information visit www.AquEye.co.uk.

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