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The Dome

The Dome (50)

Originally called the Millennium Dome, this structure was one of the large monuments, along with the London Eye, built in the United Kingdom to celebrate the arrival of the new millennium. Today, people refer to it simply as the Dome, although it officially forms part of a new entertainment complex and has the name of O2.

Due to its marvellous acoustics and unequalled visibility, it forms a dynamic and adaptable setting for shows such as big concerts or sporting events that range from tennis matches to ice hockey. In fact, it has recently been announced that the Dome will be the setting for the gymnastics and basketball finals of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Built between 1997 and 1998, this enormous dome is next to the river, in the Greenwich area. Its creation caused bitter controversy, since the exhibitions dedicated to the beginning of the new millennium that it housed did not come up to the public’s expectations, and therefore resulted in financial problems. It does, however, form a historic achievement in engineering skill.

The design and construction were a joint effort of the Richard Rogers Partnership architecture Studio and the engineering firm Buro Happold. The final result, for which 70 kilometres of high-resistance steel cable were needed, is a structure with a diameter of 320 metres covered by a membrane of white glass fibre and Teflon. This roofing has a surface area of 80,000 square metres, and the centre reaches 50 metres in height. Its weight is supported by 12 100-metre high striking yellow uprights.

If you get the chance to attend a show in the Dome perhaps you will be captivated by its extreme elegance, which, luckily, seems will continue to form part of London’s landscape, something that was not always clear when it closed at the end of 2000. Luckily today, after its reopening, London can once again enjoy this magnificent structure.

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