Roof Walk - up at The O2
Peninsula Square, London
Name of the client/building owner
Function of building
Entertainment & recreation
Degree of enclosure
Temperate - cold winters and mild summers
Number of layers
Type of application of the membrane
The roof walk is a combination of architecture, engineering and extreme visitor experience and
represents the only installation of its kind anywhere in the world”. Up at The O2 is a partnership between AEG and O2, the UK’s leading communication company.
With the sledge and skyhook systems in place the first phase of installation involved assembling the
steelwork for the central viewing platform at the apex of The O2, a key milestone since this was the
first visible part of the structure to go up. With no hot works allowed on the fabric roof the steelwork was fabricated to simply bolt together like a huge Meccano kit. Support cables attached to the yellow masts take the weight of the steelwork, again ensuring no loads are applied to the existing roof surface. Only with the viewing platform completed could the fabric walkway installation now begin, from the centre of the structure down to the ground.
Back at Base HQ manufacture of the fabric continued in earnest with 75 panels making up the whole walkway, including the side wing panels. The panels for the steepest sections of the walkway required every single piece of additional ribbing to be positioned and welded by hand, an enormous task with over 3km of ribbing in total to attach. Before going to site every panel was fitted with cables and clamps and pre-tensioned in the factory on a special rig for quality control
tests. The mammoth task of fitting all this hardware in the factory meant that the rigging team on site could simply lift each section into place and secure it to the previous panel and support cables.
After pulling out all the stops the walkway panels were all finally in place and the entire structure could be carefully tensioned out - a delicate procedure that must be coordinated perfectly to prevent uneven loads being applied to the masts. It is at this stage that the side wing panels are also unfurled along the length of the walkway. Whilst these provide an extra safety precaution, being made of white mesh means they blend into the surface of The O2 below, so as not to lessen the sense of adventure. As the walkway revealed itself in its final completed form, and with all hands on deck to complete the finishing touches in time for the grand opening, it became clear that the race had been won – just.
Description of the environmental conditions
Material of the cover
PVC with textured surface
Main dimensions and form
Covered surface (m2)
Maximum height (m)
Duration of use
Temporary or permanent structure
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Base Structures Ltd