The Millennium Dome is the dome shaped building that hosted the Millennium Experience which was a major event to celebrate the coming of the third millennium. This building is also referred to as just The Dome. This building was open to visitors between the 1st January and 31st December 2000 and is situated on the Greenwich Peninsula in South East London, England. The Dome attracted a lot of media attention and created more debates than any other building in the country. This building had many critiques because it didn’t attract as many visitors as they had hoped which resulted in financial difficulties. The dome is still around now but it now homes The O2 Arena.
The Millennium Dome has become one of the most talked about attractions in the U.K. because it is one of the biggest of its type in the world. It is also sometimes known as the Millennium Tent because theoretically it is not a dome because it is not self-supporting. From the outside it looks like a large marquee with twelve support towers. Each of these towers represents the twelve months or each hour on a clock.
The main architects were Richard Rogers and Mike Davies and the contractor was McAlpine and Laing Joint Venture formed between Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing Management. The main engineer was Ian Liddell which came from the engineering firm Buro Happold. The entire roof weighs less than the air that is stored inside the building. The main material that was used to create the canopy was a coated glass fibre fabric which is a durable and weather resistant plastic. It is 52 metres high which represents each week of the year. Construction of the building cost £43 million but the overall cost of the project was in excess of £600m!
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The Dome Project was created under John Major’s government to celebrate the third millennium but it was originally on a much smaller scale. The Labour government was the one that increased the scale of the whole project. After the millennium celebration the plan was too convert the dome into a football stadium. There were many different football clubs that were interested including Charlton Athletic although the plan wasn’t realistic and it now stands as The O2 Arena.
The Millennium Dome contained many different attractions and exhibits when it was opened to the public at the beginning of 2000. All of the interior space was divided into fourteen different areas. The fourteen areas were body, mind, faith, self-portrait, work, learning, rest, play, talk, money and journey as well as Shared Ground, Living Island and Home Planet.
As well as all of the different zones there was a performance area in the middle of the dome. Performances included music by Peter Gabriel as well as an acrobatic performance. The Millennium Dome Show hosted 999 performances in total although, in addition to that, there were many other attractions both inside and outside. This included a play area called Timekeepers of the Millennium where performances of the Festival of Britain Bus and the Millennium Star Jewels were shown.
People have very different views on the Millennium Dome, but one thing is certain, it was a hot topic for many years!