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.