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Proposed Orbit super-slide rises three times over budget

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A new slide by Bblur Architecture on Anish Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture is set to cost £3.5 million – more than three times the original estimate

A feasibility report drawn up by Buro Happold in consultation with the practice last May predicted the costs for the new slide – set to be the longest enclosed helterskelter in the world - at just under £1 million (AJ 29.07.15).

London Legacy Development Corporation chief executive David Goldstone told a London Assembly committee earlier today (2 February) that the cost of designing and building the slide would be £3.5 million.

Andrew Dismore, Labour London Assembly member said: ‘With the Orbit already losing £10,000 a week, splashing out another £3.5 million to put up a novelty slide will only send the tower’s costs further into orbit.

’The price-tag means that if the LLDC go ahead with the £5 ticket price that they’re suggesting, we’d still need 700,000 visitors just to break even.’

Dismore added that the £17 charge for visiting the 114.5 metre tall observation tower in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford was ‘beyond the reach of many London families’.

But Goldstone insisted that the Orbit - and the proposed new slide - would be paid off and that the attraction would move into profit by the financial year 2020/21.

He said: ‘With the slide, we expect the Orbit to double visitor numbers - we will get around quarter of a million visitors a year.’

And he rejected suggestions from assembly members that adding a slide would compromise the sculpture’s original design.

He said: ‘I wouldn’t put myself up to comment on architectural merit except to say that the original [designer] Anish Kapoor has been supportive and has worked with us on the design.

’So he is happy that what we are doing doesn’t detract and I assume he wouldn’t have supported if he thought it detracts. I haven’t got any concerns deferring to his expertise.’

But Dismore said: ‘There’s a lot of competition but the Orbit is quickly taking on the mantle of one of Boris’ greatest follies.

‘We were promised a great value Olympic legacy, not a metallic red phallic symbol of Boris Johnson’s ego.’

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    Glad to see London Assembly members look to pay off debts over a single year (700k visitors @ a fiver each). Perhaps that should be mandatory.
    £17 to stand in the only place you can't see that monstrosity also sounds a bargain.
    Koechlin & Nouguier, wherefore art thou?

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  • Why not take the thing down and sell it for scrap. The orbit is a heinous and unconsidered intrusion into an otherwise carefully and well considered park. It offers nothing to London other than a lesson in what can happen with poor commissioning. Please can we start a campaign for it's dismantling.. any takers??

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  • Is this really the world we live in? I must be seriously out of touch. Prepare for a minor rant. Is millions of pounds being spent on a slide? Really? Some ideas are fun, its great to add joy and create attractions and on paper what a hoot. Reality is somewhat different at that cost. Imagine the historians in 200 years time looking back at this time on scientific advancement, deadly global climate change adjustment, war, terrorism, religious and political divide and then they find that the best of capitalism, the best of design and much media copy and £3,500,0000 or hard cash was dedicated to what? No, not ending issues that kill Londoners on a daily basis such as homelessness, improving air quality or making cycle or pedestrian route safer - no, none of these; we built a slide. Well done, awards and prestige all round. Or those that want a theme park can just pop to Chessington - I hear its pretty good!

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  • I think that Ted Happold would've been very surprised indeed if he knew that the team that bears his name had become involved in this.

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  • It has had its day - if it ever had one - and should be taken down. I would support a campaign. The steel could be donated to a worthwhile cause/project.

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