Emirates spinnaker tower – my holiday sightseeing!
After recently having our annual holiday, and choosing to go to the Isle of Wight, I wanted to blog about something that I had experienced, but something relevant to my career rather than the beach! (All of which were beautiful by the way.)
As you can imagine, due to the distances covered during our holiday, we did see a varying range of eye-catching structures, buildings and landmarks, each having its own unique features, form and function.
The one that stood out, not purely because of its sheer size, was the Emirates Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. My first impression of the tower was the elegant, sweeping structural arcs flowing from the ground up to its pinnacle, which form to represent sails billowing in the wind. Appropriately named after a three-cornered sail that typically bulges when full, and is set forward of the mainsail of a racing yacht when running before the wind, the tower features a significant amount of lighting, which illuminates the structure in different colours at different times.
Standing at 170m above sea level and comprising numerous observation platforms, one of which has a glass floor that is the largest in Europe, the tower is also host to a choice of cafés. So, you can sit down, relax and take in the 360° views of the city, Langstone and Portsmouth harbours, with a viewing distance of 23 miles, which includes looking across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.
From inception to completion, the tower suffered from delays and substantial overspending, with the final cost coming in at £35.6 million for the tower alone. This resulted in taxpayers having to contribute £11.1 million towards the final cost.
From July this year, a sponsorship deal with Dubai-based Emirates airline has been agreed; the name of the tower now incorporates the sponsor’s name.
Coincidentally, the design of the tower is similar to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, whose structure is a little less than twice as tall at 323 metres (1,060 ft). Maybe this should be one of the landmark destinations for my next holiday!