Millennium Experience

Millennium Experience

Commissioned to mark the beginning of the new Millennium, the Millennium Dome was intended as a celebratory, iconic, non-hierarchical structure offering a vast, flexible space. Although a high-profile project in its own right, the building also formed a key element of the masterplan by RRP for the future development of the entire Greenwich Peninsula.

The Dome attracted intense media coverage and generated more political and public debate than any other British building of the last 100 years. For RRP, the project was a resounding success - the building itself was remarkably inexpensive (£43 million for groundworks, perimeter wall, masts, cable net structure and the roof fabric) and the practice devised a non-adversarial procurement route involving standardized components that delivered the building within fifteen months and under budget. Its content, however, was altogether less successful and was savaged by the press.

Mike Davies, Project Director, and Gary Withers of ‘Imagination’ together plotted the projection of the comets and stars, dawns and dusks onto the Dome’s surface prior to its detailed structural rationalisation. For Davies, an enthusiastic astronomer, the idea of time was uppermost in his mind - the 12 hours, the 12 months, and the 12 constellations of the sky which measure time are all integral to the original concept. Indeed the 12 towers are intended to be perceived as great arms, out-stretched in celebration.

Designed in association with engineers Buro Happold, the key objectives were lightness, economy and speed of construction. The Dome is firmly rooted in the early work of the practice, in particular INMOS, Fleetguard, Nantes, the Dome which formed part of the Royal Docks masterplan and the Autosalon at Massy, all of which are assisted span structures.

The structure solved with great elegance the problem of how to enclose and protect the separate exhibition ‘zones’ from the vagaries of the British climate. Providing 100,000m² of enclosed space (2.2 million cubic metres), the structure is 365m in diameter, with a circumference of one kilometre and a maximum height of 50 m. The Dome is suspended from a series of twelve 100m steel masts, held in place by more than 70km of high-strength steel cable which in turn support the Teflon-coated glass fibre roof.

More than 6 million people visited the attraction during 2000. The Dome has now become the home of the O2 arena, one of the UK's most popular music venues.

Civic Trust Award Commendation 2000
European Structural Steel Design Award 2000
RIBA Award 2000
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1998
Location London, England
Type Culture & Leisure
Dates 1996 - 1999
Client The New Millennium Experience Company
The Architect Richard Rogers Partnership
Maurice Brennan, Eliot Boyd, Andrew Bryce, Maxine Campbell, Martin Cook, Joe Croser, Chris Curtis, Mike Davies, Chris Dawson, Francesco Draisci, Michael Elkan, Mike Fairbrass, James Finestone, Paul Forbes, Stuart Forbes, Harvinder Gabhari, Angela Gates, David Giera, Marco Goldschmied, Philip Gumuchdjian, Rachel Hart, Dennis Ho, Lucy Hooper, Jenny Jones, Amo Kalsi, Stig Larsen, Roo Lam Lau, Marcus Lee, Stephen MacBean, Annette Main, Nick Malby, Catherine Martin, Steve Martin, Tim Mason, Andrew Morris, Sophie Nguyen, Andrea Parigi, Adel Pascale, Andrew Partridge, Tosan Popo, Richard Rogers, Nadine Rulliere, Alison Sampson, Katie Sohal, Neil Southard, Richard Stanton, David Thompson, Andrew Tyley, Angela van Herk, Robert Webb, Martin White, Adrian Williams, John Young, Nick Zervoglos
Acoustic Consultant Sandy Brown Associates
Civil Engineer WS Atkins
Construction Manager McAlpine / Laing joint venture
Environmental Consultant Battle McCarthy
Fire Consultant Buro Happold / Fedra
Landscape Architect Desvigne & Dalnoky
  Bernard Ede
Main Contractor McAlpine
Planning Supervisor Ove Arup & Partners on behalf of RRP
Quantity Surveyor Hanscomb
Services Engineer Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
Specification Consultant Davis Langdon Everest
  Schumann Smith
Structural Engineer Buro Happold Consulting Engineers

Related Information

  Job Sheet