Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has finally submitted designs for a ‘skywalk’ to allow visitors to walk across the O2, formerly the Millennium Dome, in Greenwich, south London.
The project, which was exclusively revealed in the AJ more than three years ago, will bridge the 365m-wide dome and give visitors the chance to walk up to a new platform 50m off the ground.
It is understood three groups of around 30 people will be able to traverse the dome from north to south at any one time, attached to a handrail by a rope.
More information and more drawings can be seen here.
The scheme, which includes two new pavilions at either end of the walkway, has been submitted for venue owner the AEG Group.
Project Outline (as cited in the planning application 11/1345/F dated 07.06.2011)
The proposal is to create The O2 Skywalk as an additional attraction at The O2 allowing the public to traverse the arch of The O2 tent structure from the south to the north, independent of other functions at the O2. Climbing over the top of The O2 is meant to be a challenge - everyone who attempts it will have the satisfaction of doing something physically stretching and rewarding. Given the gradients of O2 Skywalk any solution is unlikely to conform to the provisions of AD M. However, it will conform with the objectives of Part M, that is, reasonable provision shall be made for people to gain access to and use the building and its facilities.
The approach to the project echoes Helen Keller’s famous words: ‘Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing’. It is the intention that O2 Skywalk will be accessible to disabled and non-disabled people alike who self-select to take up the challenge within the technical constraints imposed by both equipment and safety.
In developing the design of the O2 Skywalk AEG have engaged Buro Happold Inclusive Design as the access consultant. AEG is committed to consulting and involving disabled people in the design process to ensure that the O2 Skywalk is suitable for disabled climbers and non-disabled climbers alike.
Previous story (AJ .08.05.2008)
Rogers plans bridge over the Dome
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) is drawing up designs for a ‘skywalk’ to allow visitors to walk across the O2, formerly the Millennium Dome, in Greenwich, south London.
RSHP senior director Mike Davies confirmed that he had held ‘preliminary exploratory talks with AEG Europe [the owner of the O2]’ about possible designs for the walkway, which has the potential to become one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.
Although Davies said it was ‘still early days’, an AEG spokesperson claimed the company was keen to push on with the scheme, which would allow tourists to stroll across the 365m-diameter Richard Rogers-designed dome some 50m above the ground.
‘It would be like Sydney Harbour Bridge’s BridgeClimb,’ the spokesperson said, referring to the Australian city’s attraction, which has welcomed more than two million visitors since it opened in 1998.
Greenwich Council said it was yet to receive an official submission for the scheme, but it confirmed that the proposal had been raised in ‘an informal basis’ at a meeting last month.
‘Although we have not seen the full proposals I do not envisage a problem in terms of the visual aspect of the building,’ said a council development team spokesperson.
‘However, the architect will need to provide us with projected visitor numbers and we will need to gauge the extent of the extra through-traffic it will generate,’ the spokesperson added.
Designed by Rogers for the Millennium celebrations, the building is topped by PTFE-coated glass fibre which is supported by 12 100m-tall towers; any walkway would have to be suspended to avoid damaging the delicate canopy.
While impressive, an O2 skywalk would be dwarfed by the 503m-long Sydney Harbour Bridge attraction, which peaks at 134m above the harbour. However, AEG will point out the tourism pull of London and the fact that the London Eye has taken receipts for more than 28 million ‘passengers’ since it opened in 2000.