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O2 Arena, London, United Kingdom

Tuesday 08 Jan 2008

Function follows form - at last...

Photographs: Chris Gascoigne 
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HOK save the day and deliver success for Rogers' "white elephant" 

For the last seven years Richard Rogers has had a thorn in his side. However successful he became, there was always the Millennium Dome, just downstream on the banks of the same river that runs beside his office, to bring him down to earth. It became known as the white elephant, and the taxi drivers loved it. It must have been heartbreaking as it was a magnificent structure, it just had no purpose. That is all history now as the dome, re-branded O2 has become a huge success. Rogers’ savior had come in the unlikely guise of HOK Sport.

Figures released this week show that the HOK arena within the O2 is now selling more tickets than any other venue in the world including Madison Square Garden in New York. Meridian Delta, backed by the American billionaire Philip Anschutz, acquired the Millennium Dome from the UK government in December 2001 and on May 31st 2005 it was publicly renamed as the O2. Even under Anschutz’s shrewd eye there were still major setbacks, the most recent being only last year when the venue failed to get a “promised” licence for a Super-Casino.

By 2007, Anschutz’s £350 million investment was taking shape. Even without the casino, the O2 had the makings of a world class venue with a 23,000 seat arena by HOK Sport, a smaller 2,350-seat music venue by Gensler (shell and core) and careyjones (fit-out) and a vast entertainment zone by RTKL.

Nick Reynolds, Principal at HOK sport , takes us on a tour of London's new O² Arena.
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Gensler designed the interior of Building One view project here

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