Bristol is set to become the first city in the world to host Arc – an elegant glass cabin suspended between two super-strong carbon fibre masts, that lifts 42 passengers into the sky and takes them on a magical 20-minute scenic flight. Despite having been recommended for refusal by city planning officers, councillors unanimously backed the project backed by Bristol’s science and rts centre, We The Curious and Arc Global, at a meeting of the Bristol City Council planning committee.
Once inside the cabin passengers will be gently lifted as the masts pivot on a 3.2-metre diameter base in Millennium Square, (just the width of two BMW Minis, side-by-side), using sophisticated technology designed leading UK engineers.
The 360˚ views of Bristol’s amazing historic sites will give a unique perspective with an accompanying pilot on-board to explain the City’s history and the importance of the heritage sites passengers will see.
Arc Bristol expects to open in Spring 2024 and expects to attract 250,000 paying visitors a year.
Arc is estimated to generate an estimated £8.3 million towards Bristol’s tourism market every year, £5 million of which will be new revenue, supporting 118 high-quality jobs, especially pilots and engineers, marketing, curation and creative roles.
Arc is the brainchild of local award-winning architect Nick Stubbs, who wanted people to be able to see beautiful places from above, where their origins and history unfold in unexpected ways. He also wanted to create something that did not sit permanently in the skyline, but which would instead rise and fall, leaving the cityscape largely unchanged.
Academics from universities in Bath and Southampton are collaborating with marine structure experts at Argo Engineering Solutions to assess and design Arc’s complex mechanisms.
Arc will use carbon fibre for its masts, the same as Boeing Dreamliner wings and the masts on large complex sailing yachts like Black Pearl. The structure will be fully solar powered, with panels on the roof of its departures lounge. Energy will be stored in yacht batteries, which will also recharge as the electric motors slow down – just like electric cars.
The £13.5M funding has been secured entirely from private investment.