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... as Dome gets its act together behind the scenes

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Meanwhile, a relatively unknown architect has taken his place alongside Hadid, Nigel Coates, Eva Jiricna and others inside the Dome by quietly completing a £2.5 million building which will prove essential to the celebrations.

Paul Jennings of small Cheshire practice Osborne Bennett has designed a three-storey 'back of house' building which houses make-up and changing facilities for the hundreds of performers and acrobats who have been chosen to perform in the main event in the Dome's central show area. The show is being designed by Mark Fisher and Peter Gabriel and will take place five times a day before an audience of up to 12,000. The t-shaped building, designed under the supervision of the Richard Rogers Partnership for Terrapin, will also house facilities for laundry, wardrobe, warm-up and a wig room, and sits alongside Terry Farrell's air duct to the Blackwall Tunnel. Jennings was brought in by Terrapin last October to work on the scheme for six weeks, but has been there ever since.

Last week at a press day for the 800m2 building, he explained that a Dome decree for environmental sustainability meant that he chose a rubber roof for the building, since bitumen has been the subject of cancer scares. The rubber solution, supplied by Firestone, means that it can be broken up and reused elsewhere in the future. The trapeze artists will have direct access from the roof-level walkway to the centre of the Dome.

Outside the Dome, canopies stretching from the Foster/Alsop and Stormer transport interchange building to the Skyscape cinema building and Rotunda pub are well under way, as is another external food outlet - the largest McDonalds restuarant in Europe.

l Journalist and Greenwich resident Alastair Irvine has published The Battle for the Millennium Dome - an independent account of the quest to build the landmark. It costs £9.99. Details 0181 319 0368.

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