The O2 (London)

The O2 (London)

Coordinates: 51°30′10.14″N 0°0′11.22″E / 51.5028167°N 0.0031167°E / 51.5028167; 0.0031167

The O2
The O2 (London) logo.svg

The O2 Arena, entrance.jpg
Former names Millennium Dome
General information
Type Entertainment District
Architectural style Dome
Location The O2
Drawdock Road / Millennium Way
Greenwich Peninsula
North Greenwich
London, SE10 0BB
Current tenants Anschutz Entertainment Group Europe (dome site sub-leased by Meridian Delta and arena leased by English Partnerships)
Completed 1999 (mast-supported canopy)
2007 (redevelopment of The O2 and surrounding area have been partially completed prior to opening)
Opening 2007
Height 50 metres at its highest point (central point within canopy)
100m (steel masts)
Technical details
Structural system Steel & tensioned fabric
Diameter 365 metres (overall diameter of canopy)
320 metres (internal diameter of canopy)
Other dimensions 1 km (circumference of canopy)
Design and construction
Owner English Partnerships (Ultimate owner of Dome and Land)
Architect Richard Rogers (canopy)
Populous (formerly HOK Sport Venue Event) (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 and prizes Royal Academy of Engineering
MacRobert Award

The O2, visually typeset in branding as The O2, is a large entertainment district on the Greenwich peninsula in South East London, England, including an indoor arena, a music club, a Cineworld cinema, an exhibition space, piazzas, bars and restaurants. It was built largely within the former Millennium Dome, a large dome-shaped building built to house an exhibition celebrating the turn of the third millennium; as such, The Dome remains a name in common usage for the venue.

It is often referred by various names: the O2 Dome; the O2 Centre, which properly refers to a shopping centre on Finchley Road; or The O2 Arena, which properly refers to a smaller indoor arena within The O2. Naming rights to the district were purchased by O2 plc (now Telefónica Europe plc) from its developers, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), during the development of the district. AEG owns the long-term lease on the O2 Arena and surrounding leisure space.

From the closure of the original "Millennium Experience" exhibition occupying the site, several possible ways of reusing the Millennium Dome's shell were proposed and then rejected. The official renaming of the Dome on 31 May 2008 gave publicity to its transition into an entertainment district. 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.

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 Clippers operate a river boat service for London River Services; the present tenants, AEG, purchased Thames Clippers in order to provide river links between central London and The O2. As well as a commuter service, Thames Clippers also operates The 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 1 January 2000 and ran until 31 December 2000; however, the project and exhibition was the subject of considerable political controversy and it 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 at night

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.[1]

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.[2] Some of the land is already being developed for offices and shops. The David Beckham Academy football school 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). Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, a specialist art & design institution currently located in Chislehurst, is having a new campus built immediately adjacent to The O2. This is due for occupation in September 2010. The development of the whole Greenwich Peninsula area is likely to cost 4 billion pounds.[3]

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.[4] The £6 million a year deal between O2 plc and AEG also included priority tickets and reserved VIP accommodation for O2 mobile customers.[5] The service was also made available to premium ticket holders. O2 plc started talks with AEG in 2005 to have its logo and branding placed on the roof of the dome. As of yet, this has not been confirmed.[6] 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.'[3] Since its opening, there have been signs of the press and public calling it The O2.[7][8][9][10][11] It is currently the largest entertainment district in London.[12] To mark its opening, AEG spent £6.5 million on a mass advertising campaign, led by VCCP, throughout Europe to promote The O2;[13] they are also partnered with and sponsored by ADT, AOL, NEC, Credit Suisse, InBev UK, BMW, Nestle, Pepsi Max and Vivitar.[14]


Cut away image of The O2.

The development took place in the form of new buildings being built inside the dome structure. 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.[15] Construction started with the arena roof, which was built on the ground and then raised, as cranes could not be used in the dome structure. The construction then moved on to the arena building itself 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 for special events. A glass roof was 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. Buro Happold provided structural engineering for the project. The main civil engineering and construction contract for the development was awarded to Sir Robert McAlpine.[16] Watson Steel Structures provided engineering for the 4500 tonne arena roof.[17] M-E Engineers were the building services engineers for the project. T. Clarke were the electrical contractors.[18] OR Consulting engineers set up a few interactive exhibitions within The O2.[19][20] 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.[21] Financial consulting was provided by WT Partnership and EC Harris.[20] The Waterfront partnership provided legal support for the development and continues to do so for The O2.[22] Kerzner International helped with the development of the entertainment venues.[23]

Super casino proposals

Anschutz planned to build a 'super casino' as one of the attractions, as this would create a huge investment for the company and would allow for business opportunities and further developments of the area. The super casino was to be developed and operated by Kerzner International.[23] 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.[24] They were further criticised when the structure for the super-casino had already been built.[25] 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 Rogers, 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.[23] 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 available for future developments.

Future developments

Nearly one-third of the ground floor of the dome awaits development in Phase II. A mezzanine level is also located on the western side of the dome in which AEG are still determined to locate a super casino. Alternatively, an attraction is required that would attract enough tourists who would wish to stay overnight and bring in sufficient investment to allow Phase II to proceed as well as the building of the planned hotel.[26] It has been suggested that The O2 could be a cruise terminal as an alternative to a super casino, if the super casino were not possible.[27] In late 2007, Marine engineering consultancy, Beckett Rankine, were appointed to investigate the possibility of the cruise terminal being built.[28] The remaining land around The O2 Entertainment District will be filled with shops and offices. Short term car parks are currently being built.


The venue, rebranded The O2, was reopened to the public on 24 June 2007 with a concert by Bon Jovi in the arena. The O2 celebrated its first year with a book, including a double page picture of Elton John from his September 2007 Red Piano show.[29] Prior to this reopening, other events took place, including a soft opening for residents of the area to explore the entertainment district and an opening for staff called "The O2 Premiere" which featured Peter Kay, Tom Jones, Kaiser Chiefs and Basement Jaxx. An event called "Out of the Blue" featuring circus acts also took place on the day of the public opening, as part of the Greenwich Festival.


The O2 concourse. The arena entrance can be seen in the background. Designed by Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture.

Various buildings are housed within the dome structure including an arena, known as The O2 arena and an Entertainment Avenue consisting of various restaurants and bars. 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 staff and VIP guests, and digitally managed sound.[30] There are four computer server rooms to provide this technology.[31][32]

The complex is also covered by CCTV and security personnel. Visitors and their bags are screened with X-ray machines and metal detectors at the main entrance.[33][34]

The O2 Arena

Metallica performing at The O2 Arena

The O2 Arena is a 23,000 capacity venue, primarily used for live music. It is located at the centre of The O2 and is the first American-style, multi-purpose arena in London.[14] It is the joint largest indoor arena in Europe.[35]

The arena and its facilities are housed in an independent building within the dome structure. 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.


4by4 event at the indigO2

indigO2 is a 2,410 capacity live music club for smaller music events, club events, after shows, corporate and private events.[22] It contains four bars: two on the main ground floor area in front of the stage, one in the V.I.P lounge called the Purple Lounge and one in the stalls, called Bleachers. The V.I.P Purple Lounge 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.

indigO2 is managed by Ansco Music Club limited (the business name of the indigO2 part of AEG Live).

The venue has featured artists/performers such as OMD, Queensrÿche, George Clinton, Sugababes, 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, The Parlotones, Lloyd Banks, Take That, Fabolous, Trey Songz, Timbaland, Brandy Norwood, Chris Brown, Mikar The Vipar, Peter Andre and the Prince aftershow parties. 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 , Usher and The Eagles and The Q Awards nominations. The NME Awards were hosted at indigO2, 2011 British Comedy Awards was hosted at the indigO2. ITV2 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". Comedians among Andy Parsons and Tim Allen performed their shows at the indigO2. Classic FM hosted several shows throughout 2008. It hosted the 'bootcamp' sessions for the reality TV show, The X Factor during the 2008, Series 5 season. The venue also hosted the debut of the snooker format, Power Snooker.[36]

Cineworld @ The O2

Cinema, previously operated by Vue

The cinema includes 11 screens over 2 levels including one 770 capacity auditorium (Sky Super Screen) claiming to be the biggest in London, being over 22 metres wide. The cinema uses the 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. The cinema is operated by Cineworld Cinemas Ltd.[37]

The 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, the same material used for the Eden Project, and the bubble itself is reportedly based on the Eden Project.[38] Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs was the first exhibition in the Bubble and after that was Body Worlds. In October 2009 it was Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition, a collection of Jackson's personal items from his estate and Neverland Ranch, costumes and props from his tours and videos.[39]

In 2009, the third floor of the bubble became a permanent exhibition called the British Music Experience, a sixty-year retrospective of British popular music.[40]

Entertainment Avenue

The Entertainment Avenue

The Entertainment Avenue is a 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, and resembles a shopping centre.

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 Cineworld and 25 bars and restaurants.[41]

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.[42][43]

Indoor events space

The O2 also has one multi-purpose indoor events spaces for live music and night clubbing. Competing with other similar events spaces such as Brixton Academy, the club is called Matter.

Outdoor events space

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 outside the main entrance of The O2, and the area around the main entrance. The London Piazza has featured an indoor beach, ice rink and dry ski slope.[44] Past special events at The O2 have included a training session with Amir Khan. 

Chronology of the site

  • 1994: The Millennium Commission is established by prime minister John Major and handed over to deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine.
  • January 1996: A site on the Greenwich Peninsula is selected. Birmingham, Derby and Stratford, London were also considered.
  • May 1999: The Jubilee Line Extension opens; putting the dome on the London Underground.
  • 22 June 1999: The structure of the dome is completed.
  • 1 January 2000: The dome structure opens to public as the Millennium Dome, containing an exhibition to celebrate the third millennium.
  • 31 December 2000: The dome closes to the public.
  • 27 February 2001 – 2 March 2001: One Amazing Auction Sale: Four-day public auction with 17,000 lots of Dome/NMEC items, managed by auctioneer Henry Butcher.
  • 18 December 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.
  • 6 December 2003: Winter Wonderland 2003 opens.
  • 31 May 2005: Anschutz Entertainment Group sell the naming rights to the former Millennium Dome to O2 plc, a British mobile phone company.
  • 23 June 2007: The O2's 'O2 premiere' private event opened to staff. Peter Kay, Tom Jones, Kaiser Chiefs and Basement Jaxx.
  • 24 June 2007: The O2 opens to the public. Bon Jovi was the first band to open the new O2 Arena.
  • 2 September 2007: Disney channel's High School Musical 2 premiers at The O2; it is the first movie to premier at the venue.[45]
  • 6 April 2008: Olympic torch passes The O2 during relay in London.
  • 7 June 2010: Bon Jovi became the first band to play on the rooftop of The O2 to commemorate the beginning of their 12-night residency in the arena.[46]

Transport links

Public transport access
London Buses North Greenwich station 108, 129, 132, 161, 188, 422, 472, 486
London Underground North Greenwich Jubilee roundel1.PNG

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Justin Timberlake". Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  2. ^ "National Audit Office Report (HC 178, 2004–05): English Partnerships – Regeneration of the Millennium Dome and Associated Land (Full Report)" (PDF). 10 Jan 2005. Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 23 November 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Liam Allen (12 April 2006). "White elephant 'not forgotten'". BBC NEWS. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ O2 press release
  6. ^ Dome could be an O2 ‘bubble’ – Times Online
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ "BBC NEWS , Entertainment , Bon Jovi first to play O2 arena". Last Updated:. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  9. ^ " – Tickets Sold Out for Celtics vs. Timberwolves at the O2 Arena in London". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  10. ^ More for less (18 June 2007). "Branding the O2: Welcome to the new Dome of entertainment – Media, News – The Independent". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ "Millennium Dome to become Europe’s largest entertainment zone : Entertainment". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  13. ^ Press Releases | Chime Communications
  14. ^ a b [4]
  15. ^ "The O2 Arena sur Flickr : partage de photos !". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  16. ^ Sir Robert McAlpine Project Archive
  17. ^ Sir Robert McAlpine
  18. ^ "Market Sectors – T. Clarke Corporate Website". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  19. ^ "New Temporary Exhibition Projects for OR Consulting Complete – OR Consulting News". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  20. ^ a b "The Dome reborn – Building". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  21. ^ "Keller GE – Keller Ground Engineering, Case Histories, soil nailing, slope stabilisation". Archived from the original on 8 June 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  22. ^ a b "General Purposes Committee" (PDF). Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  23. ^ a b c "Greenwich Peninsula Partnership Forum". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  24. ^ "Prescott 'broke ministers' rules'". BBC News. 21 July 2006. Retrieved 31 January 2007. 
  25. ^ "Super-casino talks get under way – News – Manchester Evening News". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  26. ^ "Will the Dome clouds lift at last?". The Daily Telegraph (London). 17 June 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  27. ^ Cruise ships could berth at dome for Olympics – Times Online[dead link]
  28. ^ "Beckett Rankine – O2 Cruise Terminal". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  29. ^ [$1103128.htm
  30. ^ The Dome puts IT at the top – 28 June 2007 – Computing
  31. ^ BBC News. 
  32. ^ BBC NEWS – Dome's hi-tech refit for The O2
  33. ^ "The O2 – Venue Access". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  34. ^ "The O2 – Health & Safety". Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  35. ^ "Take a seat inside the new Dome, Music , This is London". Evening Standard. UK. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  36. ^
  37. ^ Cineworld to operate O2 multiplex | Digital Look
  38. ^ "BBC NEWS , In Pictures , In pictures: Dome development". Last Updated:. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  39. ^ "The O2 – The O2 bubble". Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  40. ^ "O2 – Why Sponsor?". Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  41. ^
  42. ^ Wallop, Harry (31 January 2007). "The Dome misses out". Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 22 June 2007. 
  43. ^ More for less (18 June 2007). "Branding the O2: Welcome to the new Dome of entertainment – Media, News –". The Independent (UK). Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  44. ^ The O2 – Special Events
  45. ^ "Fans attend musical film premiere". BBC News. 2 September 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  46. ^ Blake, Heidi (7 June 2010). "Bon Jovi play on O2 Arena roof". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Landmark London — is a five star hotel on Marylebone Road on the northern side of central London, England in the borough of London named the City of Westminster. It was originally opened by the Great Central Railway, as the Hotel Great Central.Early historyThe… …   Wikipedia

  • The Cut, London — The Old Vic Theatre, at the western end of the Cut (in Lambeth) …   Wikipedia

  • The Mall (London) — The Mall (IPAEng|ˈmæl) in London is the road running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end, where it crosses Spring Gardens, which was where the Metropolitan Board of Works and,… …   Wikipedia

  • The Warehouse (London) — The Warehouse is a concert venue and recording studio located on London s South bank, near Waterloo East. It is the home of the London Festival Orchestra.In 1992, Ross Pople acquired two abandoned warehouses, which now house two recording… …   Wikipedia

  • The Star (London) — The Star was a London evening newspaper founded in 1788.The first edition was printed on 3 May 1788 under the editorship of one Peter Stuart. Founding sponsors of the new paper included publisher John Murray and William Lane of the Minerva… …   Wikipedia

  • The Bookman (London) — The Bookman was a monthly magazine published in London from 1891 until 1934 by Hodder Stoughton. It was a catalogue of their current publications that also contained reviews, advertising and illustrations. William Robertson Nicoll, Arthur St.… …   Wikipedia

  • The Illustrated London News — was a magazine founded by Herbert Ingram and his friend Mark Lemon, the editor of Punch . With Lemon as chief adviser, the first edition of the Illustrated London News appeared on 14 May 1842. Costing sixpence, the magazine had 16 pages and 32… …   Wikipedia

  • The Royal London Circus — is a famous travelling circus show based in Danga Bay, Johor in Malaysia. The Royal London Circus has performed in the country since 1990. The circus is now officially under receivership and owed much money to creditors. External links*… …   Wikipedia

  • The New London Day — is a local newspaper based in New London, Connecticut. It was founded in 1881 as a mouthpiece of the local Republican Party in era when many American newspapers served political parties. The paper endorsed Democratic Party candidate Senator… …   Wikipedia

  • The Scorpions (London band) — The Scorpions were formed in 1959 in Battersea, South West London and released two singles in 1961. Founder members were brothers Ted Barber lead guitar (1959 ) (born Edward Joseph Barber, 17 November 1940, Moseley, Surrey); John Barber bass… …   Wikipedia

  • Response to the 2005 London bombings — The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of four terrorist bombs which exploded on the London Underground and a bus during the morning rush hour, killing more than 50 people. The attacks prompted a massive response from the emergency… …   Wikipedia