ArcelorMittal Orbit, London 2012, Olympic Park, UK

Client: ArcelorMittal

Date: Completed May 2012

In  2010, Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond won the competition to design a sculptural tower for the London 2012 Olympics. Ushida Findlay Architects were appointed by Arup to realise the architectural elements of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, enabling up to a million people per year to visit the structure.

UFA’s most visible contribution is the Emergency Stair design. In the initial concept renderings,the external helical stair was purely functional in form, expressing the flights and landings through a transparent enclosure. UFA explored the idea of creating a more sculptural form for the stair, designing a sinuous curve that articulates the visitor journey from the observation deck to ground level. The stair’s expanded stainless steel mesh creates a 3-dimensional pattern that changes in opacity depending on the viewing angle and the density of the apertures, which become more open in the upper section of the panels.

Photography by Simon Kennedy – Please contact Simon directly for image enquiries

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