The O2

The O2

Infobox building|right

building_type=Entertainment District
former_names= Millennium Dome
structural_system=Steel & tensioned fabric
location=The O2
Drawdock Road / Millennium Way
Greenwich Peninsula
North Greenwich
London, SE10 0BB
owner= English Partnerships (Ultimate owner of Dome and Land)
current_tenants= Anschutz Entertainment Group Europe (dome site sub-leased by Meridian Delta and arena leased by English Partnerships)
completion_date=1999 (mast-supported canopy)
2007 (redevelopment of The O2 and surrounding area have been partially completed prior to opening)
height= 50 metres at its highest point (central point within canopy) 100m (steel masts)
diameter= 365 metres (overall diameter of canopy) 320 metres (internal diameter of canopy)
other_dimensions= 1km (circumference of canopy)
architect=Richard Rogers (canopy) HOK SVE (redeveloped interior of The O2)
structural_engineer=Buro Happold (canopy and redeveloped interior of The O2)
services_engineer=Buro Happold (canopy) M-E Engineers (redeveloped interior of The O2)
awards=Royal Academy of Engineering
MacRobert Award|

The O2 is a large entertainment district including an indoor arena, a music club, a cinema, an exhibition space, piazzas and bars and restaurants, built within a large dome-shaped building (formerly the Millennium Dome), on the Greenwich peninsula in south-east London, UK. It is often incorrectly referred to as The O2 dome, the O2 Centre (which is actually a shopping centre in Finchley Road) or The O2 arena which is actually the name of the arena in The O2 and an arena in Dublin, Ireland. The name of the Entertainment District officially became The O2, when O2 plc (now Telefónica O2 Europe plc) purchased the naming rights from the developers, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), during the development of the entertainment district.

The dome-shaped building, also referred to as the Dome's canopy, was originally constructed as the Millennium Dome, often simply known as the Dome, and housed the Millennium Experience, a major exhibition celebrating the third Millennium. After the closure of the exhibition on December 31 2000, the interior of the building was demolished leaving only the shell of the Dome. Although AEG has transformed the interior of the Dome's shell and have renamed it The O2, many still refer to it as the Dome.

Since the closure of the original exhibition celebrating the millennium, several possible ways of reusing the Dome's shell were proposed and then rejected. The official renaming of the Dome on May 31 2005 gave publicity to its transition into an Entertainment District including an indoor arena, a music club, a cinema, an exhibition space, and bars and restaurants. The interior of the Dome's shell was completely cleared prior to the development and construction of the new facilities. The Dome's shell itself remained in situ but its interior and the area around North Greenwich Station, the QE2 pier and the main entrance area was completely redeveloped. In this role the plan is to host the 2009 World Gymnastics Championships and the artistic gymnastics and basketball events of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, [cite news|url=|title=Dome legacy is 'good for future'|date=2006-04-12| accessdate=2006-05-25|publisher=BBC News] as well as two National Hockey League games and a National Basketball Association game in 2007. The Tennis Masters Cup, which will be renamed to ATP World Tour Finals, is intended to be held in The O2 arena from 2009 to 2012. In 2008, Red Bull Air Race World Series came to the Greenwich Peninsula, although the actual event was over the River Thames, and stands were made on the bank, you had to book via the 02.The area is served by North Greenwich tube station, which was opened just before the millennium exhibition, on the Jubilee Line, and by bus routes.

Thames Clipper operate a river boat service for London River Services; the present dome tenants, AEG, purchased Thames Clipper in order to provide river links between Central London and The O2. As well as a commuter service, Thames Clipper also operate a new O2 Express service.

The Dome

The dome-shaped building, which now houses The O2's Entertainment Avenue and arena, was originally constructed as the Millennium Dome and housed the Millennium Experience, a major exhibition to celebrate the start of the third millennium. The exhibition opened to the public on January 1 2000 and ran until December 31, 2000; however, the project and exhibition was the subject of considerable political controversy and did not attract the number of visitors anticipated, leading to recurring financial problems. In popular usage, the dome canopy is often still called The Dome, reflecting the substantial, and often adverse, publicity given to its building in the late 20th century.

Background to development

The O2 was developed, inside the dome structure, by Anschutz Entertainment Group to a design by HOK SVE and Buro Happold in a £600 million development [ [ Justin Timberlake ] ] .

In December 2001 it was announced that Meridian Delta Ltd had been chosen by the government to develop the Dome structure, originally the Millennium Dome, as a sports and entertainment centre, and to develop housing, shops and offices on 150 acres (0.6 km²) of surrounding land. It is also hoped to relocate some of London's tertiary education establishments to the site. Meridian Delta is backed by the American billionaire Philip Anschutz, who has interests in oil, railways, and telecommunications, as well as a string of sports-related investments.

Meridian Delta, a subsidiary of Quintain Estates and Development and Lend Lease, had signed a 999-year lease for the Dome and its surrounding land with the government and English Partnerships, a UK governmental body for national regeneration which was assigned the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula. The Dome site was then sub-leased to Anshutz Entertainment Group (AEG), who strongly support Meridian Delta, for a minimum of 58 years. English Partnerships leased the arena directly to AEG Europe for 58 years. AEG would develop and operate The O2 during the length of the lease agreements. The lease agreements were made in the agreement that the government would get a certain percentage of profits through English Partnerships. English Partnerships and Quintain Estates and Development both own land around The O2 on the Greenwich Peninsula. They will release land in stages, to developers, and develop the area in a joint venture with the aid of Meridian Delta. [cite web|url=| |format=PDF|accessdate=2007-07-04] Some of the land is already being developed for offices and shops. The David Beckham Football Academy has already been developed on the Greenwich Peninsula. Some of the land around the dome is being reserved for possible extended developments for The O2 including a hotel although the building of much of the extended development depends on how much investment can be made by AEG "(See below section about possible future developments for details)". The development of the whole Greenwich peninsula area is likely to cost 4 billion pounds. [ [ BBC NEWS | England | London | White elephant 'not forgotten' ] ]

As part of the investment programme, naming rights were sold to O2 plc; and 'The O2' became the official name of the project on 25 May 2007. [] The £6 million a year deal between O2 plc and AEG also included priority tickets and reserved VIP accommodation for O2 mobile customers. [ [ O2 press release] ] The service was also made available to premium ticket holders.O2 plc started talks with AEG in 2005 to have The O2's (mobile phone company) logo and its branding placed on the roof of the dome. As of yet, this has not yet been confirmed. [ [ Dome could be an O2 ‘bubble’ - Times Online] ] Anschutz Entertainment Group have constantly stated that they wish to abolish its name as 'The Dome' due to its bad reputation as a failed project, being tagged as 'The White Elephant.' [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] Since its opening, there have been signs of the press and public calling it The O2. [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] It is currently the largest entertainment district in London. [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] AEG recently began a mass advertising campaign, led by VCCP which was recently acquired by Chime Communications, throughout Europe including traditional advertising and creative advertising methods such as a ticket hunt competition to promote The O2, [ [ Press Releases | Chime Communications ] ] their is also partnered with and sponsored by ADT, AOL, NEC, Credit Suisse, InBev UK, BMW, Nestle, Pepsi Max and Vivitar.]


The development took place in the form of new buildings being built inside the dome structure to make it appear as an entertainment city within the dome. The dome structure was not changed as part of the construction with the exception of blue lights being added to the support poles and plasma displays being added to some of the large sculptures around the dome. [ [ The O2 Arena sur Flickr : partage de photos ! ] ] Construction started with the arena roof which was built on the ground and lifted as cranes could not be used in the dome structure. The construction then moved on to the arena building including the interior under the roof and the entertainment avenue around the arena building. A wide pathway between North Greenwich station and The O2 was also built as well as the Peninsula Square piazza in front of the dome structure for special events. A glass roof was also built over part of the pathway so that people can walk from the station to The O2 without getting wet in rain. A covered path was also built between the QE2 Pier and The O2's main entrance. Further developments of The O2 and its surrounding land may take place in the future "(See below section about possible future developments for details)". Buro Happold provided structural engineering for the project. The main civil engineering and construction contract for the development was awarded to Sir Robert McAlpine [ [ Sir Robert McAlpine Project Archive] ] . Watson Steel Structures provided engineering for the 4500 tonne arena roof. [ [ Sir Robert McAlpine ] ] M-E Engineers were the building services engineers for the project. T. Clarke were the electrical contractors. [ [ Market Sectors - T. Clarke Corporate Website ] ] OR Consulting engineers set up a few interactive exhibitions within The O2. [ [ New Temporary Exhibition Projects for OR Consulting Complete - OR Consulting News ] ] [ The Dome reborn - Building ] ] Keller Ground engineering prepared the ground for construction. Special ground preparation was necessary due to the contaminated soils from the industrial works which existed at the site before the dome. Catalytic converters were also installed within the dome to prevent toxic gases due to the dome structure being left in place. The plant cylinders, containing services equipment, and some piles used for the original dome, were reused. [ [ Keller GE - Keller Ground Engineering, Case Histories, soil nailing, slope stabilisation ] ] Financial consulting was provided by WT Partnership and EC Harris. The Waterfront partnership provided legal support for the development and continues to do so for The O2. [ General Purposes Committee ] ] Kerzner International helped with the development of the entertainment venues. [ Greenwich Peninsula Partnership Forum ] ]

uper casino proposals

Anschutz planned to build a 'super casino' as one of the attractions inside as this would create a huge investment for the company and would allow for many business opportunities and further developments of the dome area. The super casino was to be developed and operated by Kerzner International. The association of the British Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, with Philip Anschutz, head of the entertainment group, gave rise to serious political controversy in Britain with allegations that Prescott may have used undue influence to support Anschutz's casino licence bid. Prescott had met with Anschutz on several occasions and even stayed in his ranch for a few days. [cite news|title=Prescott 'broke ministers' rules'|publisher=BBC News|date=2006-07-21|url=|accessdate=2007-01-31] They were further criticised when the structure for the super-casino had already been built. [ [ Super-casino talks get under way - News - Manchester Evening News ] ] In January, 2007 the single trial licence for a British super casino was granted to Manchester. Thus AEG announced that the casino will not be built in the near future, and that there would not be enough investment for a high-rise hotel, designed by Richard Rodgers as well as a theatre, a cable car from Canary Wharf and an extended development that was planned adjacent to the dome structure will not be built. AEG had previously stated that there was no alternative plan if the super casino could not be located in The O2. However the space reserved for the super casino is still being reserved for possible future developments.

Future developments

AEG are still pushing for a super casino. They are now determined to fill the reserved space with a super casino, or if necessary with an alternative attraction, that would attract enough tourists staying overnight and bring in enough investment to allow for the second part of the development of the dome and its surrounding land to proceed. [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] The second phase of the development would include an extended development to The O2 including an attraction which would attract overnight visitors and a hotel outside the dome structure. A theatre (bravO2) and cable car may also be built, outside the dome structure, if enough investment can be made from an overnight attraction. It has been suggested that The O2 could be a cruise terminal as an alternative to a super casino, if the super casino is not possible. [ [ Cruise ships could berth at dome for Olympics - Times Online ] ] In late 2007 Marine engineering consultancy, Beckett Rankine, were appointed to investigate the possibility of the cruise terminal being built. [ [ Beckett Rankine - O2 Cruise Terminal ] ] The remaining land around The O2 entertainment district will be filled with shops and offices. Short term car parks are currently being built.


The O2 was opened on June 24 2007 to the public with an opening concert by Bon Jovi in the arena. [$1103128.htm] Prior to opening some other events took place this included a soft opening for residents of the area who were free to explore the entertainment district and an opening for staff called "The O2 premiere".(See Music events for more details) An event featuring circus acts also took place on the day of the public opening as part of the Greenwich Festival. The event was called "Out of the Blue".


consisting of various entertainment venues. There is also a VIP club lounge, an operations room, a media centre with high definition facilities and a number of dressing rooms as well as a VIP entrance/exit for performers.

All the venues in the complex use the latest lighting, sound and security technology including RFID smart card tagging of all staff and VIP guests, and digitally managed sound. [ [ The Dome puts IT at the top - 28 Jun 2007 - Computing] ] There are 4 computer server rooms to provide this technology. [] [ [ BBC NEWS - Dome's hi-tech refit for The O2] ]

As the O2 is in the London low emission zone The O2 was designed to be environmentally friendly. Steps taken to reduce carbon emissions include the composting of waste food and the recycling of used cooking oil for biofuels. Fact|date=August 2008

The complex is also closely guarded with CCTV and security personnel. Visitors and their bags are screened with X-ray machines and metal detectors at the main entrance. [ [ The O2 - Venue Access ] ] [ [ The O2 - Health & Safety ] ] The opening of indigO2 was done by the Scarlet Fever Show, hosted by Chris Fitchew of Beau Production.

Entertainment Avenue

The Entertainment Avenue, managed by Montagu Estates, a Property Management company [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] , is a modern wide pedestrian avenue within The O2, with artificial palm trees and other decorations, built around the circular arena building which takes up the centre of the dome structure. The entertainment avenue has buildings on either side, which are leased to tenants who run bars and restaurants just as in a Shopping mall or on the High Street, and resembles a shopping centre. The Music club is not leased to anyone and is operated by Ansco Music Club Limited (The business name of the indigO2 operated by AEG Europe).

The buildings on the Entertainment Avenue include a music club known as indigO2, an exhibition space known as The O2 bubble, a cinema managed by Vue and 25 various bars and restaurants with private hire and leisure facilities, with more opening soon.] The Entertainment Avenue also includes an ice rink known as The O2 ice pad, an indoor beach (for a limited time), areas for special events including the London Piazza, the main entrance area and Peninsula Square which is outside the main entrance of The O2 also exist as part of the Entertainment Avenue. [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] An event stall is available for performers to sell their merchandise. Fast food outlets have been banned from the development as the theme is 'aspirational but accessible', trying to avoid it being seen as a shopping centre but more like Covent Garden. [cite news|title=The Dome misses out|publisher=The Daily Telegraph|date=2007-01-31|url=|accessdate=2007-06-22] [ Branding the O2: Welcome to the new Dome of entertainment - Media, News - ] ]


indigO2, managed by Ansco Music Club limited which is the business name of the indigO2 part of AEG Europe, is a 2350 capacity live music club for smaller music events. It contains four bars: two in the main ground floor area in front of the stage, one of which is sponsored by Beck's, one in the V.I.P lounge called the Purple Lounge and one in the stalls, called Bleachers. The downstairs area can be used for seating or standing. The V.I.P Purple Lounge, where guests can purchase cocktails and champagne, is not in direct view of the stage, but V.I.P guests have access to "Kings Row"; the best seats in the venue. The circle is on the top floor, above "Kings Row". There are no seats with obstructed views.

The venue has featured artists such as OMD, Queensryche, George Clinton, Pete Bennett And The Love Dogs, Jools Holland, CAKE, Natalie Cole, Delirious?, Aimee Mann, Joss Stone, Youssou N'Dour, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Lucie Silvas, Beverly Knight, Timbaland, Chris Brown and the now legendary Prince aftershows. indigO2 is regularly used as the venue for private and public aftershow parties for artists that have performed in The O2 Arena. indigO2 has also hosted the album launch parties for the Sugababes, Usher and The Eagles and The Q Awards nominations. The NME Awards were hosted at indigO2, as well as Metal Hammer awards. ITV2 now have a regular show called Live@indigO2 featuring artists such as The Zutons, The Enemy, Paul Weller, The Fratellis, The Feeling and The Charlatans. The venue also hosted "An Audience with Bill Clinton". ClassicFM are hosting several shows throughout 2008.

The venue can also be hired and used for conferences and other private events.

O2 Bubble

The O2 Bubble is a two-storey bubble shaped exhibition space built to museum standards, which opened in November 2007. It is made from ETFE which is the same material used for the Eden Project. The bubble itself is apparently based on the Eden Project. [ [ BBC NEWS | In Pictures | In pictures: Dome development ] ] Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs was the first exhibition in the Bubble. The current exhibition is Body Worlds & The Mirror of Time [cite web|url=| |accessdate=2007-07-04] . The managers of the exhibition had previously refused to hold the exhibition here if a super casino had been built. Tight security will be in place at the venue including X-ray scanners at the entrance, sniffer dogs, CCTV monitoring and security personnel.

In 2009, the third floor of the bubble, which is currently unused, will become a permanent exhibition called the British Music Experience, which will feature a sixty year retrospective of British music. [cite web|url=|title=O2 - Why Sponsor?|accessdate=2008-06-02]

Vue @ The O2

The cinema includes 11 screens over 2 levels including one 770 capacity auditorium (Screen 11) claiming to be the biggest in London, being over 22 metres wide. [ [ general facilities & info- vuegreenwich (the o2)cinema ] ] [ [ The O2 - Vue cinema ] ] It is the UK's first digital cinema, after the kino digital cinema company and this can also allow for live events to be shown. Every screen features a digital screen and projector, which has an optional lens with anamorphic technology. The projector is the NEC 2500 which is the world's brightest projector. The surround sound can go up to 8 channels. Films are played from a computer server. The technology is supplied by NEC. [] [ [ BBC NEWS | Technology | Dome's hi-tech refit for The O2 ] ] Most screens are built in amphitheatre style and can be hired out for private use. The cinema is currently competing for premieres and so there is a VIP room and a licensed bar. [ [ Vue Cinema @ Dome ] ] A free pre-release screening of Die Hard 4.0 was initially held in the première screen. The cinema successfully got the rights to host the UK premiere of "The Simpsons Movie" and "High School Musical 2". [ [,,30100-1276892,00.html The Simpsons Hit The UK Big Screen |Sky News|UK News ] ] On Thursday 19 June 2008, The O2 hosted when an audience of 10,000 turned out to see "".

The cinema uses the new vista ticketing system, where tickets can be purchased from any stall selling refreshments. For this reason there is no box office dedicated to selling tickets only.

pecial events

Special events or minor events which do not require or cannot be held in the indoor venues are held in the piazzas - The London Piazza, Peninsula Square which is outside the main entrance of The O2, the area around the main entrance and possibly on The O2 Ice Pad in the future. An indoor beach was be built on The London Piazza for a limited time. [ [ The O2 - Special Events ] ] Past special events at The O2 included a training session with Amir Khan. The Bars and restaurants can also be used for private events.

The O2 arena

The O2 arena is located at the centre of The O2 and is the first American style multi-purpose arena in London. With a capacity of 20,000 it is one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe. [ [ Take a seat inside the new Dome| Music | This is London ] ] The arena and its facilities are housed in an indepenendent building within the dome structure. Due to the impossibility of using cranes inside the dome structure the arena's roof was constructed on the ground within the dome and then lifted. The rest of the arena was built around the roof. The arena has hosted multiple music and sporting events and in 2008 exceeded ticket sales for both Madison Square Garden and the Manchester Evening News Arena despite only being open for half a year.

Chronology of the site

*1994: Millennium Commission established by Prime Minister John Major and handed over to Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine.
*January 1996: Greenwich site selected. Birmingham, Derby and Stratford were also considered.
*May 1999: The Jubilee Line Extension opens, putting the Dome on the London Underground. This is seen as disorderly, opening 14 months late and with station facilities not yet complete (e.g. lifts for wheelchair access)
*June 22 1999: structure of Dome completed.
*January 1 2000: Dome structure opens to public as the Millennium Dome containing an exhibition to celebrate the third millennium.
*December 31 2000: Dome closed to the public, having attracted just over six million visitors. The initial target figure was twelve million.
*February 27 2001 - March 2 2001: One Amazing Auction Sale: Four-day public auction with 17,000 lots of Dome/NMEC items, managed by auctioneer Henry Butcher.
*December 18 2001: Announcement of sale of site to Meridian Delta Ltd, who plan to turn it into a 20,000-seat sports and entertainment venue. Houses and offices will be built on the surrounding land, subject to the consent of the London Borough of Greenwich.
*December 6 2003: opening of "Winter Wonderland 2003"
*May 31 2005, Anschutz Entertainment Group sell the naming rights to the former Millennium Dome to O2, a British mobile phone company.
*January 30 2007: The O2's bid to house the UK's first Regional/Super Casino is rejected in favour of Manchester
*May 8 2007: Prince announces 7 nights at The O2 Arena, later increased to a 21 night run.
*June 23 2007: The O2 'O2 Premiere' private event opened to staff. Peter Kay, Tom Jones, Kaiser Chiefs and Basement Jaxx.
*June 24 2007: The O2 opens to the public. Bon Jovi was the first band to open the new O2 arena.
*December 10 2007: Led Zeppelin play their first concert in 25 years at the O2 Arena
*December 15 2007: Spice Girls play their first concert in Britain in almost a decade as a five piece at the O2 Arena
* April 6 2008 : Olympic torch passes it during relay in London.
*April 14-15 2008: The O2 Arena plays host to WWE tapings for "Raw", "ECW" and "SmackDown".
*August 8 2008 Tiesto became first DJ to sell out the O2 in advance

In popular culture

*The O2 was also the site for a roadblock on "The Amazing Race 7", where the teams had to drive a double-decker bus around the car park.
*The O2 was featured for a few seconds prominently in the background during a sequence in the 2006 film "The Da Vinci Code".
*In the 2007 film "Flood" The O2 was shown along with many other London landmarks being swamped with a surge of water. This footage can also be seen in the video for the song Floods by British band Fightstar.
*The O2 can be seen in the background during the final fight scene in the 2005 film "Green Street".

ee also

*The O2 arena
*Millennium Dome
*London Eye
*Tensile architecture
*Tensile and membrane structures
*The O2 Dublin
*2012 Summer Olympics venues

Notes and references

External links

* [,0.003176&spn=0.001392,0.001923&t=k&hl=en Aerial view of The O2] from Google Maps
* [ The O2] Official site of "The O2" including venue information and scheduled events
* [ The O2 Floor plan]
* [ The O2 Trivia] - Trivia about The O2
* [ Detailed report of the dome and Greenwich Peninsula regeneration scheme published by the National Audit Office]
* [ Flickr Photo Set of O2 Premiere event] - taken with a cameraphone at the first major event at The O2 held on 23 June 2007.
* [ More photos of The O2] More photos of The O2 from Flickr, taken at The O2 Premiere event.
*Structurae|id=s0000362|title=The Millennium Dome
* [ The Millennium Dome: A Collection] One individual's collection of Millennium Dome objects
* [ Early Website] Personal collection of images showing the construction of the Dome
* [ Greenwich MM - MEX - The Dome - The O2] On-going site that documents the run up to the MEX and, now, to The O2
*Details on [ The Performance Wall] , Peninsula Square

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