The giant twisting Olympic park sculpture, Orbit, has been unveiled and at 115 metres tall (the tallest sculpture in Britain), critics are labelling it a big eyesore.
The ruby-red looped steel tower that stands beside London
's new Olympic Stadium has been called 'the Eye-ful Tower', the Godzilla of public art' and worse by British tabloids but sculptor Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond who designed the Orbit say it is beautiful.
Belmond described it as 'a curve in space' and believe people will be won over by it.
'St. Paul's (Cathedral) was hated when it was begun,' he said. 'Everyone wanted a spire' - but now the great church's dome is universally loved.'
The view from below. PA
Kapoor noted that the Eiffel Tower in Paris was seen as 'the most tremendously ugly object' when it was first built.
Past Turner Prize winner Kapoor says the tower, which is officially named the ArcelorMittal Orbit after the steel company that paid most of the 22.7 million it cost to build, can only truly be appreciated from inside - something the public will not have the chance to do until 2014 when it is reopened as a centrepiece of a new park on the site of the London Olympic Park.
Before this, Olympic and Paralympic Games ticketholders will be able ride the elevator to the top at a cost of £15 for adults and £7 for children. The price should then come down, said Anish Kapoor who wants a 'more democratic' fee.
Kapoor revealed that visitors would enter a 'dark and heavy' steel canopy at the base before emerging into the light high above ground. A wraparound viewing deck and huge concave mirrors in the tower create 'a kind of observatory, looking out at London.'
Olympic organisers hope the Orbit, which can accommodate up to 5,000 visitors a day will become a top tourist attraction in London.
The Orbit is the tallest sculpture in Europe and 22 metres higher than New York's Statue of Liberty.
London Mayor Boris Johnson is a fan of the tower and believes Londoners will come to love it.
'It is a genuine Kapoor,' he said. 'It has all the enigmatic qualities of some of his great pieces.'
What do you think of the Olympic Orbit tower? Eyesore or stunning structure? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
Browse Britain's biggest eyesores below...
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- Drake Circus, Plymouth
There’s no denying the jaunty playfulness of this shopping centre, one of the South West’s biggest. However,<em> The Times</em> newspaper derided Drake Circus as a ‘monocultural lump’, and Channel 4 promptly nominated it for nukedom in its Demolition series. At least the shopping centre wiped the floor at the National Loo Awards, winning the prestigious Attendant of the Year award.</p>
- The Millennium Dome, London
Despite the £789 million it cost to build, and its starring role in a Bond film, in 2002 Forbes placed the Millennium Dome top of a list of the world’s most hideous buildings. Now snappily titled the O2 and restyled as an entertainment venue, it is still rightly celebrated among the world’s naffest. </p>
- The ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture and observation tower, London
Commissioned for the 2012 Olympic Park, designed by Anish Kapoor, caused controversy. Some called it an eyesore, others a thing of beauty. Th mother of all helter-skelters, Britain's largest public sculpture was branded a "jumbled mess" and a "drunken party animal of a building" by <em>The Guardian</em>.</p>
- Stokes Croft, Bristol
This sore-eye institution dominates Bristol’s inner city, an area also known as The People’s Republic of Stoke’s Croft on account of its alternative spirit. Renowned for its graffiti and street art, this building has been derelict for more than thirty years, during which six people have died in it. </p>
- Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester
This may be known as The Theatre of Dreams, but we reckon this stadium is an architectural nightmare. Seen from a distance, it looks like a giant warehouse, anonymous and surrounded by imposing steel structures that are most unpleasing to the eye.</p>
- Orion Building, Birmingham
Brum. A city with a proud tradition in architectural anomalies. This 90-metre tower, completed in 2006, is the latest off the West Midlands conveyer belt. On top of its 28 storeys is Birmingham’s first penthouse suite, which set its owner back £1.65m. </p>
- The SIS Building in Vauxhall, London
The MI6 building which features in Skyfall. Designed by Terry Farrell, the building opened in 1994 and has been slammed for its ugliness...</p>
- Park Hill Estate, Sheffield
Inspired by the ideas of a French architectural legend called Le Corbusier, Park Hill was conceived as ‘streets in the sky’ but went on to be described by a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as ‘one of Britain’s most vile buildings’ and voted Europe’s ugliest in a poll. The jury is still out on this 50s vision of utopia, but it’s a Grade II-listed building, so somebody must like it. </p>
- Royal Lancaster Hotel, London
OK, so the views from this huge four-star hotel are simply stunning from the inside - many rooms overlook Hyde Park and the city of London - but from the outside we think it's an eyesore and a half. Built in the 1960s, even various overhauls haven't managed to hide the fact that it's plain ugly-pugly.</p>
- Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh
"A tour de force in arts and crafts and quality without parallel in the last 100 years of British architecture" is how one critic describes this award-winning structure in Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage city centre. Its roofline is intended to evoke the crags of the Scottish landscape, but, hey, let’s be honest, it looks like weird cows grazing in a field – at a cost of over £400m (original budget, £40m).</p>
- The Metropolitan Cathedral Church of Christ the King, Liverpool
Cathedrals normally conjure up heavenly thoughts, but the opposite is true of this Merseyside building, designed by architect Frederick Gibberd in the 1960s. It was voted seventh in CNN's Top Ten Ugliest Buildings in the World in 2012. The unfriendly spikes and space-age fortress look do nothing for its appeal for congregants.</p>
- Tower Hotel, London
Finished in 1973, the Tower Hotel is widely despised, thanks to its hideous burnt-toast façade and an unfortunate proximity to some of London’s more charming efforts, such as the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.</p>
- St George Wharf, London
Producing ferocious attacks of biliousness in architects all over the land, St George Wharf is a recent addition to London’s pantheon of eyesores. The design brief for the Wharf was to "create a thriving Thames riverside community worthy of its place amongst some of Europe's most spectacular landmarks". Hmm.</p>
- The Synedd Building, Cardiff
Wales's National Assembly building, designed by Richard Rogers was opened in March 2006 at a total cost of £70million. Designed to be sustainable, the building was norminated for the Stirling prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects. But some claim it deserves nothing but a booby prize....</p>
- Jubilee Campus expansion, Nottingham University
This little gem was singled out in a recent annual Carbuncle Cup contest run by Building Design magazine to find the ugliest building in the UK. Judges called it a "horribly misconceived idea of the avant-garde."</p>
- Titanic Museum, Belfast
Another building singled out for the Carbuncle Cup 2012.</p>
- Colliers Wood Tower, south London
Also known as the Brown and Root Tower, this 19-storey blot on the Sarf London landscape is covered in netting to prevent falling debris taking out passers-by. Over 80 per cent of locals cite it as the worst thing about living in the area. In November 2011, the Satirical website S*** London, which documents "urban decay at its finest", crowned this the ugliest building in the capital. <span class="s1">The website describes the vacant 17-storey building as: "A grim black edifice that looms over this corner of London like a brutalist twist on Tolkien... Rumours that this actually sucks in light and feeds off the joy and vigour of local residents are unsubstantiated."</span></p>
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