The latest pioneering achievement to appear on London's skyline, the Emirates Air Line is the first urban cable car system in the UK and will provide a unique transport connection across the majestic River Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Victoria Docks. With a journey completed within 5 minutes, the 1.1 km river crossing will have the capacity to carry up to 2500 people per hour in each direction.

Project Champion, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

"It is a testament to the ingenuity of UK manufacturing to have been able to craft and complete this incredible landmark within two and a half years of the idea first being suggested.

The cable car terminals at Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Victoria Docks are designed as curvilinear facetted pavilions and are the first introduction to the Emirates Air Line experience.

The pavilions have 5 key functions: to provide capacity; to accommodate the cable car system; to reflect the prestige of the project; to create an aesthetically pleasing addition to the visual landscape in this new metropolitan quarter; and to, most importantly as a landmark London project, deliver public protection and security.

Windell were selected for their expertise and extensive experience in delivering high level blast protection systems to important buildings around the world, including the new flagship BBC News building at Portland Place, London.

As lead in the project consortium for this £50m transport link, Mace director Matt Randall said:

“Subcontractors have been hand-picked because of their proven ability to meet time and cost deadlines. I have worked with each member of the supply chain personally on previous jobs, and that the collaborative technique and accuracy of design helped to ensure the tight timescales were met." 

Our focus on this project was the design, manufacture and installation of external façade glazing to the two terminal pavilions. We have been involved in value engineering this project, and development of a scheme that incorporates blast enhanced security glazing and commercial glazed products.

The blast enhanced facades use our 86 x 175 high-rise curtain walling profiles as many of the screens exceeded 7 metres in height. On the south elevation the enhanced curtain walling screen with automatic and manual opening vents incorporates a bespoke brise soleil. At ground level the glazed facades incorporated curved ballistic screens; outsized double access doors; full height commercial curtain walling and blast enhanced glazed facades.

A key challenge in this project was the installation of the glazing to the Thames river elevation, achieved using barge mounted cranes and mobile access platforms to install pre-assembled ladder sections of curtain walling and glazing. The sections were mounted onto the structure using purpose made cantilever brackets to allow all imposed loads to be transferred back to the main structure.

The on-site installation program was reduced as a result of Windell delivering a single source solution. This complex project was completed in a very tight timescale to ensure the site was operational before the Olympics, allowing us to demonstrates our ability to fast track design and fabricate multifaceted curtain walling systems, to integrate alongside other building fabrics.



Image Copyright: anizza / 123RF Stock Photo