Construction begins on Olympic landmark Orbit tower

A GROUND-BREAKING ceremony was held on the Olympic Park today to mark the start of construction work on the controversial ArcelorMittal Orbit tower.

The sculpture was designed by award winning artist Anish Kapoor in collaboration with one of the world’s leading structural designers, Cecil Balmond and will stand on the Olympic Park in Stratford.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Mittal were joined by Anish Kapoor and Chief Executive of the Olympic Park Legacy Company Andrew Altman at the Park today.

Situated between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, the ArcelorMittal Orbit will give visitors a view of the entire Olympic Park and across London’s skyline. Visitors will be able to take a trip up the structure in a lift and will have the option of walking down the spiralling staircase.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit, which will be Britain’s tallest sculpture, will consist of a continuous looping lattice of tubular steel and standing at a gigantic 114m.

M Johnson said: “Long after the Olympic and Paralympic Games are over, thanks to the ArcelorMittal Orbit and Lakshmi Mittal, we will have a stunning new spectacle in London.

“Recognised the world over, the Orbit will not only be an amazing piece of art, but it will draw visitors from every corner of the globe to east London.

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“With Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond as the design team, the ArcelorMittal Orbit will be a truly iconic addition to London’s skyline and as a family attraction will offer something for everyone who visits the Olympic Park. I am delighted we are breaking the ground and can’t wait to see the red steel of the Orbit reaching for the sky.”

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is expected to be completed and handed over to the Legacy Company by March 2012. The London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will operate the Orbit in the summer of 2012. After a period of transformation, the Legacy Company is expected to re-open the visitor attraction in Spring 2013.

ArcelorMittal will fund up to �19.2million of the �22.3million project with the outstanding �3.1 million provided by the London Development Agency.

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