London sculpture's twisting slide is almost complete

5 pictures

The slide will be 178-m (584-ft) long and 76-m (249-ft) high

View gallery - 5 images

Last year it was announced that the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture that was created for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and sits on the Olympic Park site was to have a slide added to it, giving visitors a quick way down from its observation deck. Construction is now almost complete and it will open in June.

The Slide was designed by artist Carsten Höller in partnership with the creator of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, Anish Kapoor. By way of context, Höller says that the slide echoes some of the themes that can be found in his previous works.

"Since 1999, I have built a number of slides, both freestanding and attached to buildings, but never onto another artwork as in this case," explains Höller. "Now that the two artworks will be intertwined with each other, I see it as one of these double situations that I am so interested in. I like it when a sense of unity is reached in two separate entities and you can find this thought to repeatedly occur in my work."

Once complete, the slide will be 178-m (584-ft) long and 76-m (249-ft) high, making it, according to the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the "world's tallest and longest tunnel slide." Riders will experience 12 twists and turns, including a tight corkscrew section called the "bettfeder," which is German for "bedspring." The slide ends with a 50-m (164-ft) straight stretch to the ground.

It is estimated that it will take about 40 seconds for people to descend the slide, with riders expected to hit speeds of up to 15 mph (24 km/h). On the way down, there will be dark sections, as well as points where it will be possible for riders to see out of transparent polycarbonate windows, providing brief views out over the Olympic Park and surrounding areas.

The eventual structure will comprise 30 sections in total, each between 5- and 9-m (16- and 30-ft) long. The stainless steel used is 3-mm (0.1-in) thick and the slide is 800 mm (31 in) in diameter. So far, 12 out of the 30 sections have been lifted into place by a team of specialist abseilers. The procedure, said to be a complex one that involves moving the sections into place with ropes and pulleys, has been designed especially for the project.

It is hoped that the slide will help to attract visitors to the Olympic Park and will thereby contribute to the regeneration of East London. Visitors will pay £5 (US$7) to ride the slide, on top of the entry cost to the ArcelorMittal Orbit itself. Tickets are available online now and the Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit is due to open on June 24.

The video below shows the construction of the slide.

View gallery - 5 images

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