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1: Brunel Tower    2: Hanging Baskets    3: The Double Helix of Carfax    4: The Lighthouse
5: Vavoom Statue    6: St Zvlkx Cathedral    7: The Elgin Llamas
Wonder Number Three:
The Double Helix of Carfax
another view of The Double Helix of Carfax
Only just pipping the Railway Village to the number three slot, Swindon's famous and groundbreaking early design in stressed steel concrete laid the groundwork for Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gaudi and many others.

Designed by Swindon University physicist Alvin Suggs in 1893 as a friction compensated slope to study Galileo's theories of conservation of momentum, 'Sugg's Marble run' as it became known gained unexpected fame in the new and untried building technique of steel reinforced or 'stressed' concrete.
Dr. Sugg's original design is a thing of sinuous beauty. 
view of The Double Helix of Carfax view of The Double Helix of Carfax
Corbusier: 'My life has changed'.
Visitor's centre to the left with cafeteria and Museum of Concrete.
Over the years, architects who were later to become famous made pilgrimages to Swindon and came away inspired. Former garden shed designer Corbusier switched to the new building techniques pioneered by Suggs and went on to achieve greatness. Even Frank Lloyd Wright made a special visit in 1931 and was fulsome in his praise - his Guggenheim Museum is a shameless ripoff of Suggs' original design.

Using two spirals or helixes that never meet, Suggs' 'marble run' has lasted long after the work it was built to investigate had finished. In a masterstroke of inspired ingenuity, the Grade-II listed monument has now been tastefully incorporated into a car park, the double helix design ensuring that the 'up ramp' and 'down ramp' never converge.
Visitor's Information: Visitor's centre open all year round with renowned concrete museum featuring 'concrete through the ages' exhibition. Cafeteria and Suggs memorabilia on display. The spiral can be driven up and down for the price of 1 hour's parking (minimum charge) but due to safety precautions, pedestrians are not permitted on the ramp.

How to find it: The Spiral can be found on Carfax street, just behind the bus station. Visitors to the Lighthouse on Alexandra Road nearby can make use of a 'two for one' ticket offer; another Wonder, the statue of Lola Vavoom, is only a short walk away. Nearest Skyrail: Bus/Tram Station.

Telephone: City 302
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