Magazine article Insight on the News

The Millennium Has Landed

Magazine article Insight on the News

The Millennium Has Landed

Article excerpt

The Millennium Dome, an $800 million exhibition hall in Greenwich, England, is Britain's official site for Y2K fun, as well as a good place to think about the future.

The millennium has landed and it has arrived first in Greenwich, on the south side of the Thames River in London. To mark the occasion, Britain has erected a stately pleasure dome -- costing nearly $800 million -- on the Zero Meridian. Throughout the year 2000, the Millennium Dome is expecting 12 million visitors, where they will interact with some 14 learning-is-fun areas explaining the past and the high-tech future.

There are no parking lots. London Transport has constructed a brand-new tube line that includes a three-story underground station with shimmering blue glass walls resembling the throne room of Lord Archon. At press rime, Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair were preparing to launch the venture with a New Year's Eve bash such as might happen once in 1,000 years.

Early in December, Insight donned hard hat and rubber boots to tour the vast construction site as workmen swarmed over it and rappelled up the side of the centerpiece -- the giant Millennium Body, a reclining golden figure that would be some 200 feet high if it could stand up. Visitors will tour the inside of the figure to learn how the human body operates. The dome itself, designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership (architects of the Pompidou Center in Paris), is more than half a mile in circumference and consists of two layers of Teflon-coated fiberglass supported by cables from 12 masts. …

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