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Kapoor's Orbit to be turned into £1m wonder-slide

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Artist Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit - the opinion-splitting observation tower on the London 2012 park - is to be converted into the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide

According to new plans which have been lodged with the London Legacy Development Corporation, the 80m slide will circle the red structure five times before a 50m plunge to the bottom,

The proposed ride features an 800mm stainless steel diameter tube, punctuated with transparent polycarbonate sections, which has been designed to be ‘a low-impact addition’ to the existing tower.

As the slide approaches the ground the tube’s diameter increases to 2.2 metres permitting the customer to comfortably exit the tube.

A feasibility report drawn up by Buro Happold in consultation with bblur architects in May found that the total costs for the new slide came in a just under £1million.

The report concluded that the slide would have ‘minimal impact’ on the existing structure. Other options explored by the study included a dry toboggan, a rail supported buggy, or a suspended zipline which the report said ‘would provide an exceptionally exciting experience’.

The slide has been proposed due to a significant shortfall in visitor numbers to the Orbit since the Olympics.

According to the planning statement for the new slide the original application forecast visitor numbers of 1,000,000 at opening to 800,000 by the third year. In reality visitor numbers have been around 120,000.

Sponsored by ArcelorMittal, the £19 million Orbit was designed as an observation deck for the 2012 games. Artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond designed the project in tandem with Ushida Findlay Architects, it is constructed from pre-fabricated steel components and features a giant fibreglass canopy at its base.

Peter Tudor, director of Visitor Services, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, said: ‘What more exciting way to descend the ArcelorMittal Orbit than on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide.

‘We are committed to ensuring our visitors have the best possible day out every time they visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and as with all our venues, we are constantly exploring ways to ensure we lead the way with the latest visitor experience. This slide really will give a different perspective of Britain’s tallest sculpture.’

Visitors hoping to spiral around the Orbit can expect to pay £5 to go on the slide.

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