No prizes for guessing where I’ve been tonight… The Millennium Dome, now the O2, Richard Rogers’s homage to the Festival of Britain’s Dome of Discovery. Its time-obsessed dimensions reflect the reason for its construction: 12 pillars, one pillar for each month of the year; 52m high, one metre for each week of the year; a diameter of 365m, one metre for each day of the year. And there’s that remarkable statistic that the 1mm-thick glass-fibre fabric of the roof weighs less than than the air contained within the dome itself, yet could support the weight of a jumbo jet.
In the furore over the Dome’s innards, it’s often forgotten that the building itself was constructed in just 15 months, and – at £43m – substantially under-budget.
It’s hard to believe that it’s twelve years since my family and I first visited the site, to see the much-maligned (though highly rated by 85% of actual visitors) Millennium Experience. We had a great time, though I recall that we were really rather baffled over what the unifying theme of the attractions was supposed to be.
I’ve returned quite a few times since, usually just to grab dinner when in London and nearby… which is exactly why I was there tonight!