The O2 could be closed ‘for months’ as music fans face uncertainty over upcoming performances at the venue after Storm Eunice ripped the dome’s roof apart.
The popular arena in London’s Greenwich was hard-hit by Friday’s fierce winds, which hit a record 122mph, with large sections of the canvas roof being torn away.
It is thought that at least six sections of the roof, which measures 365m in diameter, have been shredded, dramatic photographs and videos taken showed.
Around 1,000 people were evacuated from the venue on Friday as firefighters rushed to the scene to make sure ‘no one was injured by any further falling debris’.
After The O2 closed due to the damage, an employee told The Mirror that they had been warned the venue could be closed ‘for a few months’ while repairs are underway.
Another member of staff told the publication they understood that at least part of the building would be shut for the coming weeks.
The popular arena in London’s Greenwich was hard-hit by Friday’s fierce winds, which hit a record 122mph, with large sections of the canvas roof being torn away
It is thought that at least six sections of the roof, which measures 365m in diameter, have been shredded, according to dramatic photographs and videos taken on Friday
Describing the damage to the roof, one employee said: ‘We were inside and the wind just ripped off the roof, it was whipped off – it sounded like a huge whooshing sound and then suddenly everything was exposed.’
The O2, originally called the Millennium Dome, confirmed that the arena would remain closed on Saturday morning as they ‘access the damage’ to the now-shredded roof.
A Twitter statement read: ‘The O2 will remain closed tomorrow morning as we assess the damage to our roof.
‘We hope to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.’
AP Dhillon and Gurinder Gill’s performance at The O2 was postponed from Friday night following the closure, with the show being rescheduled for Tuesday and Thursday.
Fans are facing uncertainty over whether upcoming shows will go ahead, but The O2’s website is currently still offering tickets for shows scheduled for this weekend and next week.
Tickets for the Magnificent Four Reloaded at 6pm today are still showing as being available, despite the venue confirming it will remain closed this morning.
Rapper Dave, who just won a Brit award for best British hip hop act, is set to take to the stage on Monday and Tuesday, while UB40 featuring Ali Campbell has a show in memory of Astro scheduled for February 25.
Tickets for the upcoming shows are currently showing as being available for the scheduled dates.
MailOnline has contacted the O2 for further information.
After The O2 closed on Friday, an employee said they had been warned the venue could be closed ‘for a few months’ while repairs are underway. Pictured: The white-domed roof of the O2 is torn away after fierce winds hit the arena
It is not yet known how much the roof repairs will cost, but the PTFE-coated glass fibre used to construct the dome in 2000 originally cost £14million. Pictured: At least six panels on the roof were shown as having been torn away on Friday
It is not yet known how much the roof repairs will cost, but the PTFE-coated glass fibre used to construct the domed roof in 2000 originally cost £14million, according to New Civil Engineer.
Ministers at the time argued that the glass fibre would last longer, with a 25-year lifespan guaranteed – but this has been undermined by Friday’s fierce winds ripping through the structure.
Speaking about Friday’s damage, an O2 spokesman said: ‘There has been some damage caused to the tent fabric in our roof at The O2. The affected areas have been cleared and The O2 will remain closed for the rest of the day.
‘The safety of our visitors remains of paramount importance, and we will continue to assess the ongoing situation and act accordingly.’
After Storm Eunice hit London on Friday, large parts of the white covering on The O2 in London’s Greenwich could be seen flapping in the strong winds. It is thought that at least six of the panels have been ripped off.
Witness Mala Sharma said ‘more and more parts are getting ripped off’, adding ‘it’s going to be a safety issue for people around’.
Ms Sharma said it happened ‘right in front of my eyes’ and that the damage ‘started off with a patch’ but then a ‘chunk’ of the roof on the building, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, ripped off.
London Fire Brigade Station Commander Chris Kamara said: ‘Firefighters cordoned off the area to ensure no one was injured by any further falling debris.
Commonly referred to as just The Dome, the Millennium Dome was originally built to mark a new era as the year 2000 brought in the 21st century
‘There has been no actual collapse or structural damage to the building, but due to the nature of the canvas material which covers The O2, it has come loose in high winds and looks quite dramatic.
‘Crews have made the scene safe and The O2 is now closed.’
Following Storm Eunice’s force funnelling through the dome atop the O2 arena on Friday, the London landmark’s future now stands shredded and unclear, amidst its history as a symbol of post-90s optimism.
Commonly referred to as just The Dome, the originally named Millennium Dome was built to mark a new era as the year 2000 brought in the 21st century.
The £43-million structure, reminiscent of a large white marquee, was designed by British architect Richard Rogers, who passed away last December.
It debuted with an exhibition marking the third millennium, which was open to the public from 1 January to 31 December 2000, but failed to garner more than just over half its 12 million forecasted visitors, widely deemed a ‘white elephant’ by the press.
Despite its name, some have gone as far as calling the Dome a ‘tent’, due to the fact that the ‘dome’ is held up by a network of poles and cables.
The O2, which was previously known as the Millennium Dome, in London was damaged by Storm Eunice this morning
The Dome being constructed in 1998. It debuted with an exhibition marking the third millennium, which was open to the public from 1 January to 31 December 2000
According to architects Roger Stirk Harbour + Partners’ site: ‘The Dome itself is suspended from a series of 12 100-metre (330-feet) tall steel masts, held in place by more than 70 kilometres (43 miles) of high-strength steel cable that, in turn, support the Teflon-coated glass fibre roof.’
Positioned a short distance away from the Greenwich Meridian Line, time was a big theme intended to be presented in the project.
Engineering consultancy Burro Happold wrote: ‘The 12 support towers represent the 12 hours, 12 months and 12 constellations of the sky.
‘The Dome is 52 meters at its highest point, representing the 52 weeks of the year. Each span is 365 meters apart, symbolic of the numbers of days in a standard year.
‘There are 24 scalloped edges at the base of the canopy, for each hour of the day. Time and space were literally of the essence to the Millennium Dome Project.’
It was delivered under-budget at £43 million, and completed within 15 months.
Politically, it’s sometimes used to refer to the over-optimisms of Tony Blair’s New Labour government, as the former Prime Minister expanded the budget and scope of the project once construction for it began in 1997.
The formerly named Millennium Dome in 2010. It now covers the infamous O2 arena, known as one of the busiest performance venues in the world
The £43-million structure, reminiscent of a large white marquee, was designed by British architect Richard Rogers, who passed away last December
In 2001, Liam Allen wrote for the BBC: ‘Intended as a symbol of a new, brighter Britain, the Dome has been empty since the beginning of the year.
‘But if ministers hoped media attention would disappear with the last visitor, they have had a rude awakening.’
But it had its place in British culture at the turn of the century, infamously appearing in a 1999 James Bond sequence which saw Piers Brosnan rolling down the dome’s roof in The World Is Not Enough.
It also features in the opening sequence of popular soap EastEnders.
It now covers the infamous O2 arena, known as one of the most famous performance hubs around the globe.
In 2018, it was voted the world’s busiest concert venue, having sold more than 2million tickets to various events, IQ Mag reports.
The future of the dome remains unclear, as does the amount it will cost to repair the structure.