The AJ can this week unveil for the first time how the immediate vicinity of the Millennium Dome would have looked had Nomura's Dome Europe bid seen the light of day.
The Japanese bank was the original preferred bidder for the contract to rework the Dome as a visitor attraction themed on Europe.
Legacy, the subject of close scrutiny from the National Audit Office because of its cash connections with the Labour Party, is now the preferred bidder and plans to turn the Dome into a hi-tech business centre to designs by Lifschutz Davidson.
Under the Nomura bid, however, the architect Patrick Davies developed the £112 million ideas shown here for 900,000m buildings outside the Dome's main structure.
The image above shows a series of nine 'pavilions'circling a horseshoe-shaped central space in the foreground, a faint echo of the very first proposals for the Millennium Experience site, by design firm Imagination. Inside the pavilions Davies envisaged restaurants and cafes. The central space was to have been Play Europe, the largest children's adventure playground in Europe, and would have allowed children to abseil from mini Eiffel Towers onto the Champs Elysees and other rides. It would have been covered by a tensile roof using PTFE inflatable cushions. Beyond the play area is a mound with a circular stepped slice taken out of it. This, called 'Plaza Europe', would have staged daily theatrical parades similar to those at Disneyland. In the background are buildings including a five-storey hotel, offices and a teaching building. Others include a boomerangshaped visitor centre for ticketing kiosks, and in the centre of the Dome, a hawkers'market, designed with Conran's and Fitch. A new entrance 'experience' with a travelator was designed by Blu Design, part of the SMC Group.
On the other side of the Dome, by the edge of the Thames, Davies designed future exhibition spaces and an orrery - a 20m high mechanical model of the solar system to demonstrate the importance of the space time continuum - to have been built on the Greenwich meridian.