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Hammersmith bridge (part one)

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The challenge
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The challengeThe EDF Energy London Eye isn't just one of London's top tourist attractions, it's an extraordinary piece of engineering, design and architecture which breaks many technology, design and size records. The work and planning required by the team in order to put the project together was immense.

Built in less than 16 months, the London Eye is a truly international structure, involving the teamwork of various European engineers. Specialist firms and designers had to invent almost every component and construction technique, as well as organise transportation to get the London Eye up the River Thames to its location. Everything was specially fabricated, tested, refined and tested again. And all of this had to be done to a deadline of New Year's Eve, 1999.

More than 1,700 people worked on the London Eye project - and that's in addition to an entire alpine village that turned out to test the embarkation procedures for the capsules. Marks Barfield Architects led the design team from the UK, with their engineers and project management firm, but various components were built in other European countries.

The wheel was developed and produced by steelwork contractors based in the Netherlands. The cast steel elements - the spindle and the hinges - were made in the Czech Republic. The steel cables, which tie the structure together, were specially spun in Italy. The capsules, which were co-designed by Marks Barfield and architect/boat designer Nic Bailey in Devon, were developed and built by cable-car specialists in the French Alps. The glass for the capsules is double-curved and laminated - something that had never been achieved before. It was specially made in a workshop outside Venice. Every component was separately checked by a firm of independent engineers.
An international structure, the London Eye employed the help of British, French, Dutch, Italian and Czech workers.

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