The Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
The Spinnaker Tower is a
170 m (557 ft 9 in)–high tower in Portsmouth, United Kingdom. It is the centrepiece of the redevelopment of
Portsmouth Harbour, which was supported by a National Lottery grant. Its shape was chosen by Portsmouth
residents from a selection of concepts. The tower, designed by local firm HGP Architects and the engineering
consultants Scott Wilson and built by Mowlem, reflects Portsmouth's
maritime history by being modelled after a sail. After several years of delays and cost overruns, it was
opened on 18 October 2005.
The tower, at a height of 170
metres (557 feet 9 inches) above sea level, is 2½ times higher than Nelson's Column, making it the tallest
accessible structure in the United Kingdom outside London. The tower is visible for miles around Portsmouth,
changing the horizon of the area. It can be seen from the Isle of Wight, the Manhood Peninsula, and even the top
of the racehill in Brighton on a very clear day.
The tower represents sails
billowing in the wind, a design accomplished using two large, white, sweeping steel arcs, which give the tower
its spinnaker sail design. The steelwork was fabricated by Butterley Engineering. At the top is a triple
observation deck, providing a 320° view of the city of Portsmouth, the Langstone and Portsmouth harbours, and a
viewing distance of 37 kilometres (23 miles). The highest of the three observation platforms, the crow's nest,
has a wire mesh roof, allowing visitors to be in the elements. Windows extend to above head height, so it is not
possible to get a view unobstructed by glass. The glass floor is the largest in Europe. The tower has a design
lifetime of 80 years.
The design is similar to the
Burj Al Arab in Dubai, whose structure is a little less than twice as tall at 323 metres (1,059 ft 9
The Spinnaker, being a
southern landmark features on the BBC South Today news programme. It also features on ITV
In 2006, the tower won the RICS Project of the year award and
the RICS Regeneration award.