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AJ exclusive: Kapoor unveils towering Olympic monument for London

Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond have unveiled a 115m-tall monumental structure, which is set to dominate the 2012 Olympic skyline

The £19.1 million permanent viewing platform (pictured) will be the centrepiece of the 2012 games and the planned ‘legacy’ regeneration of east London.

Indian Steel-tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is backing the project, which Mayor of London Boris Johnson has described as ‘Britain’s biggest ever piece of public art.’

Mittal’s company ArcelorMittal will cough up £16 million of the £19.1million needed to build the competition-winning scheme with the outstanding £3.1 million provided by the London Development Agency. 

Work on the spiralling rust-coloured structure – known as the ArcelorMittal Orbit – is schedule to finish in time for the opening Olympics.

Minister for the Olympics and London Tessa Jowell said: ‘This stunning structure will become a new iconic London landmark towering 115m into the London skyline.

‘Alongside the Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre, Anish Kapoor’s brilliant design will be like to honey to bees for the millions of tourists that visit London each year. Having been involved in this project from the outset, I’m now looking forward to seeing it go from a great idea into a brilliant reality.’

Turner prize-winning Kapoor with Arup saw off bids from Anthony Gormley and Caruso St John to bag the prestigious prize.

Readers' comments (19)

  • This abomination combined with the one being built in Middlesbrough will be the end of Anish Kapoor.

    Building a major structure is quite different to putting on a successful show at the Royal Academy.

    This will be a national disaster to eclipse that of the millenium dome.

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  • horrific- please someone stop this

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  • Truly horrid. Something from a 1950s encyclopedia.

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  • Just when you thought the London Olympics couldnt get any uglier....

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  • That's quite an elaborate april fools day joke

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  • A very sad day for British Architecture. What is exactly so wonderfull about this structure? I wonder what CABE would say about this?

    Anish..!!..I would probably lose my job and client if were present such a horrific design. Lucky you got Mittal.

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  • The Beast from the East?

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  • A twisted Mess of a structure!

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  • this will become a national embarassment - an unwanted icon of what is supposed to be a 'sustainable' games. It is simply an exercise in wasting money and steel to create a redundant viewing platform.

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  • This is neither art nor architecture, a colossol heap of steel employed to no discernable function. It does not even have the saving grace of elegant structural beauty - but appears as a frankly quite disturbing and contorted presence.

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  • For once I find myself in agreement with Prince Charles....what was the jury thinking?

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  • Maybe Mr Mittal can pay for its removal too.

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  • Maybe Mr Mittal can pay for its removal too.

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  • Indescribably downright ugly - makes my EYES SORE. I struggle as an architect trained in the visual arts to get contemporary architecture past the planners then this happens! The judging panel should all be shot BEFORE dawn. We will be the laughing stock of the world if this get built and people will stay away from the Olympics rather than have to walk past this monstrosity. More ammunition unfortunately for that well known royal bigot. Blackpool sea-front manages better than this.

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  • Jon-Marc Creaney

    I am sure alton towes has one of these already

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  • JustFacades.com

    go and see Anish Kapoor exhibition at the guggenheim museam Bilbao, then decide what you think.

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  • Maybe this comment will be considered 'unsuitable or offensive', but this looks like a structural abortion! Taste aside, how can this possibly be justified when we are in the midst of a global recession, but more importantly, an environmental world crisis? It flies in the face of all the good legacy work being undertaken on this site and gives out a very strange message regarding values and priorities.

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  • Impressive in size I guess, but that is only determined by the budget. If it were to be 6ft tall it would be much easier to realise that there is no considered form or proportion to the shape. It simply isn't beautiful.

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  • A misinterpretation of Tatlin's Tower? A representation of our twisted democracy?...Hmmm...

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