London is not the only city celebrating the dawn of the new millennium with a special building. Here we present a few landmark millennium projects from cities around the world, and from a small town near Jerusalem, where a certain child was born 2000 years ago.
Music Pavilion, Chicago, USA

Frank Gehry has designed an open-air music pavilion in his inimitable freeform style as the centrepiece of Chicago’s new Millennium Park. Billowing ribbons of stainless steel, like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao taken apart by a tin-opener, will cover the pavilion’s stage. The new £125m park, masterminded by local architect Skidmore Owings & Merrill, is an extension to the famous Grant Park, built for the 1893 World’s Fair. Completion is due in summer 2001.

Expo 2000, Hanover, Germany

Europe’s superpower is not building religious or cultural landmarks to mark the end of the millennium. Instead, it is celebrating with Expo 2000, an international exposition in Hanover. The German Pavilion is an oblong structure with concave glass walls, designed by little-known architect Josef Wund, who happens to serve on the organising committee. The Expo will open on 1 June 2000 and run until 31 October.

National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australia

The new millennium dawns as Australians try to make amends for centuries of repression of the continent’s indigenous culture. Accordingly, an ambitious new National Museum of Australia, devoted to Aboriginal culture, is being developed in the country’s capital, Canberra. The design, by Ashton Raggatt McDougall and Robert Peck Von Hartel Trethowan, features ribbon canopies, pathways and other landscape devices that represent “the tangled or intertwined threads” of Australian culture. The project is due for completion in March 2001.

Millennium Spire, Dublin, Ireland

A narrow, 120 m high spire is to be built on O’Connell Street in the heart of Dublin. The competition-winning design by Ian Ritchie Architects and structural engineer Ove Arup & Partners is being developed by the Dublin Corporation “in celebration of Ireland’s confident future in the third millennium”. It is an elongated cone of rolled steel plate that tapers from 3 m diameter at the base to a sharp point that will sway in the wind. Currently awaiting planning permission, the £4m spire should be completed before 2001.

Church of the Year 2000, Rome, Italy

The Church of the Year 2000, the flagship of 50 new churches around Rome developed by the Vatican to commemorate the Roman Catholic jubilee, is being built to a competition-winning design by US architect Richard Meier & Partners. The church, which is in the eastern outskirts of Rome, seats 390 people within a series of curving walls. Completion is due in the second half of 2000.

Bethlehem Peace Centre and Manger Square, Jordan

The Bethlehem Peace Centre close to Jesus Christ’s reputed birthplace opens this week, in time to receive a spate of pilgrims. In front of the new cultural centre, which aims to “enhance peace, democracy, religious tolerance and diversity”, a congested parking lot has been transformed into the pedestrianised Manger Square. Both projects were undertaken by the Swedish International Development Agency to a competition-winning design by Snorre Lindquist of Stockholm architect Nyrens.