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Around the Dome

YOUR ROUND: Designed to offer catering facilities in support of events at the nearby Skyscape outside the Dome's normal hours, the Round is a two-storey annular steel-framed structure surrounding a central covered courtyard performance space. Curved glazed walls enclose a pub and restaurants, linked by a bridge at first floor level.

Architect Richard Rogers Partnership worked with engineer Buro Happold to design an unusual fabric canopy roof for the performance space.

'They had the concept of it being covered, and all the piazza canopies are fabric, so it made sense to have a circular fabric canopy on this one too,' explains Buro Happold project manager Tanya Ross.

'Originally it pointed up, but we thought it would be more interesting to have it pointing down.'

A pond at the centre of the courtyard solves the problem of water run- off from the inverted conical canopy.

The long term future of the Round is uncertain, but as it was designed to permanent building codes, it could stand for a further 25 years if the next owner wanted to keep it in place.

More than 100 organisations were involved in the Millennium Experience project. More information can be obtained on the New Millennium Experience Company's website www. and on

Two recently published books give different slants on the Dome story. The Millennium Dome by Elizabeth Wilde, covers the design and construction phases in great detail. It is published by Ted Smart, price £19.99.

Regeneration - the story of the Dome, by Adam Nicolson, is published by HarperCollins, also at £19.99. It is particularly good on the politics and intrigues which surrounded the project since its inception.

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