Rebooting the Dome

Another heavyweight piece of the new urban landscape clicks into place, moving London’s centre of gravity another few metres to the east. The renamed O2 Dome opens this weekend.

Despite its white elephant status – the old Millennium Dome symbolised all that’s wrong with New Labour: obsession with control, cultural superficiality, bread and circuses instead of substantive policy – I wish it well. As a piece of architecture, this giant eggshell is breathtaking, and it never deserved to be padlocked for the best part of a decade.

And finally, a few minutes with Google Earth has answered one of those questions that never quite seemed important enough to bother looking up: where the hell is it? I was shocked to discover it’s not on the Isle of Dogs. (Somehow I’d always thought it nestled alongside Canary Wharf and Excel, even though I know both those areas well and I’ve never seen any big white tents between the ‘scrapers.) Not only is it my side of the Thames, but it’s within three km, arguably walkable although there’s no convenient road to follow. Just a couple of Tube stops, with the Jubilee line doing the heavy lifting of crossing the river twice. (I think they should revise their map, though, which seems to put North Greenwich Station in the middle of the river.)

Of course, this explains why I never knew where it was. As every jungle guide says, you never know what’s around the next bend in the river!

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