Inclusive led design for ‘Up at the O2’
Up at the O2
Ansco Roofwalk Limited (AEG)
Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners (concept design), Buro Happold with bblur (detailed design)
Contractor: ISG with Base Structures
2007 – 2012
Services provided by Buro Happold
Up at the O2 was conceived to offer visitors to the iconic entertainment venue the opportunity to take on an extreme challenge. Inspired by the walkway over Sydney Harbour Bridge, the attraction begins with a 30 degree climb to the top of the dome. There, a viewing platform allows adventurers to catch their breath as they soak up the sights of London – including other Buro Happold projects such as the vast 2012 London Olympic Park and the historic Cutty Sark – before beginning their descent down the other side.
As the original co-designers of the Millennium Dome, and the subsequent O2 Arena within, Buro Happold was appointed as lead consultants for this project. Our engineers worked with bblur architects to develop a design that responded to the various challenges posed by the concept, not least realising an attraction that is accessible for all users to enjoy in every weather condition. In addition, we wanted to deliver a visual spectacle that both complemented the existing architecture of the dome and stood as a distinct attraction over and above it.
We selected a PVC coated polyester fabric membrane with an embossed texture to use for the walkway, which provides the strength and grip required to make Up at the O2 a year round visitor attraction. This tensile fabric also gives slightly beneath the feet of climbers, simulating the slightly bouncy sensation we envisaged people might experience if they were walking across the actual surface of the dome.
This walkway is suspended from and stabilised by steel cables attached to the original masts of the dome, and flanked on either side by graceful wings of white fabric. A lightweight deck offers climbers the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views over London when they reach the summit of the dome, and at either end gateway towers and cantilever access platforms form a stunning profile that further enhances the existing architecture of the O2.
Since opening in 2012, Up at the O2 has proved a huge success with visitors from across the world. Sitting alongside other visionary Buro Happold projects, such as the equally exhilarating ArcelorMittal Orbital Slide and the elegant Emirates Air Line, this attraction has played a key role in delivering a thriving new tourist destination for south-east London.