The anticipation of what you’ll see at the top of a tower can be exciting. Going down, though? Comparatively, that’s a drag. Why go down the stairs or the elevator like a sucker when you can slide on down?
That seems to have been the thought process that went through the mind of London architecture firm Bblur, who have engineers a 584-foot slide that wraps around the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a sculptural observation tower that stands in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The tower itself is 375-feet tall, making it the tallest sculpture in the U.K. Up until the possibility of whooshing down on your greased butt becomes a reality, the main reason to ascend the tower has been an installation of giant mirrors designed by international artist Anish Kapoor. Supplemented by gigapixel viewers that let you zoom in on London’s skyline in real time, the exhibit allows you to interactively explore the architecture and design history of the English capital from the Orbital summit.
Let’s face it, though. Now that the AccelorMittal Orbital will also be host to the country’s largest slide, that’s likely to be the tower’s big attraction. The descent will take about 40 seconds, meaning you’ll travel at a speed of about 14 feet per second, or 15 miles per hour: about half the speed you’d attain in your first second of free-fall. Here’s a pro tip from my halcyon playground days: sneak in a piece of wax paper for your butt to boost those speeds.
The slide won’t be free: when it opens in spring 2016, it’ll cost about $8 a ride, compared to a $15 entry feet to the tower itself. As you descend, transparent panes in the slide will allow you to snatch a glimpse of over 20 miles of London skyline. Or you could walk the tower’s 455 steps to the ground—like a sucker. Every tower and skyscraper should have a slide, don’t you think?