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London 2012: Olympic Orbit tower reaches full height

  • 28 October 2011
  • From the section UK

The spiralling red tower looming over London's Olympic Stadium has reached its full height.

The final steel ring was connected to the ArcelorMittal Orbit on Friday, making it 114.5m (376ft) tall.

A tangled steel lattice incorporating the five Olympic rings, it is hoped the tower will help to attract 1m visitors a year to Stratford's Olympic Park.

Visitors will be able to climb on the £22.7m structure to take in panoramic views across London's skyline.

It was designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond.

Job creator?

Three cranes lifted the final ring of London's tallest sculpture into position earlier on Friday, officials said, and the structure is due to be completed in March, well ahead of London 2012's opening ceremony on 27 July.

Visitors will be able to go up the 35-storey structure in a lift, and will have the option of walking down its spiralling staircase.

The attraction could generate up to £10m per year in revenue and create around 50 new jobs, according to the Olympic Legacy Company.

ArcelorMittal provided £19.2m towards the cost of building the Orbit, with the remaining £3.1m being funded by London Development Agency.

Reaction to the structure has been mixed; some have described it as amazing while others have dismissed it as pointless.

One visitor to the Olympic park on Friday told the BBC the Orbit represented "everything that London is, irregular, quirky, useful and dynamic".

It includes a double-decked viewing platform a spiral staircase of ever-increasing radius that wraps around the central core.

Kathryn Findlay, a Camden-based architect who designed the pedestrian elements of the tower, described it as a "Jack and the Beanstalk-type structure" that could only fully be appreciated from its summit.

She said the main challenge was to coordinate how the structure's complex parts fitted together.

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