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Ten spherical buildings from around the globe

Ten spherical buildings from around the globe

The MSG Sphere in Las Vegas drew global attention when it was unveiled last week. Here are 10 recent examples of spherical architecture from around the world.

Billed as the world's largest spherical structure, the MSG Sphere's 54,000-square-metre LED screen was illuminated last week ahead of its official opening in September.

The building is the latest example of a building that incorporates a spherical element, with shops, museums, offices and libraries also using the geometric shape.

Here are 10 recent examples of spherical architecture:

Foster + Partners Marina Bay Sands Apple store

Apple Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, by Foster + Partners

Designed by British architecture studio Foster + Partners, this Apple Store in Singapore is set within a spherical building that appears to float in Singapore's Marina Bay.

Set to open within the next couple of weeks, the store is completely surrounded by water and will be accessed by a bridge from the waterfront promenade and an underwater tunnel that connects it to the Marina Bay Sands shopping centre.

Find out more about Apple Marina Bay Sands ›

Taipei Performing Arts Center has completed

Taipei Performing Arts Center, Taipei, Taiwan, by OMA

A spherical structure described as "a suspended planet docking with the cube" that contains an auditorium is the most prominent feature of the Taipei Performing Arts Center, which Dutch architecture studio OMA has designed in Taiwan.

The performing arts centre officially opened to the public in 2022, nine years later than originally planned.

Find out more about Taipei Performing Arts Center ›

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles, USA, by Renzo Piano

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles, USA, by Renzo Piano

Italian architect Renzo Piano added a glass sphere to the 1930s May Company Building in Los Angeles to create the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

The main building contains a collection of film memorabilia including set designs, costumes, props and interactive installations, while a 1,000-seat theatre topped by a terrace occupies the spherical extension.

Find out more about Academy Museum of Motion Pictures ›

Spherical architecture: Kazakhstan Pavilion by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill
Photo is by Paul Raferty

Kazakhstan Pavilion, Astana, Kazakhstan, by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

Known locally as Nur Alem: Museum of the Future, the Kazakhstan Pavilion was created as the centrepiece for the 2017 Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The building, which was envisioned as a "pure-glass sphere", has an 80-metre diameter and was converted into a science museum following the expo.

Find out more about Kazakhstan Pavilion ›

Al Wasl Plaza by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Photo by Expo 2020 Dubai LLC

Al Wasl Plaza at Dubai Expo 2020, Dubai, UAE, by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

Also designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, this globe-shaped plaza was built at the centre of the Dubai 2020 expo site.

The plaza stood at the intersection of the expo's three thematic districts and was topped with a spherical trellis informed by the expo's logo.

Find out more about Dubai Expo 2020 ›

Lunar display on MSG Sphere Las Vegas

MSG Sphere, Las Vegas, USA, by Populous

Designed by architecture studio Populous for the company behind New York's Madison Square Garden (MSG), the spherical building in Las Vegas contains an arena with a capacity of 20,000 people.

The building is wrapped in a giant LED screen that was constructed from approximately 1.2 million pucks that each contain 48 individual LEDs.

Find out more about MSG Sphere ›

Spherical architecture: Populous MSG Sphere London venue

MSG Sphere, London, UK, by Populous

Also designed by UK architecture studio Populous, this London venue is planned as the sister to the Las Vegas sphere. If built, it will be an almost identical arena to the one recently unveiled in Las Vegas.

Planned for a site near the Olympic Park in east London, the 90-metre-high building won planning approval in early 2022, but was put on hold by UK housing secretary Michael Gove in early 2023.

Find out more about MSG Sphere ›

Spherical architecture: Burning Man sphere, by Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange

Burning Man sphere, Nevada, USA, by Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange

Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange from architecture studio BIG inflated a huge reflective sphere at the 2018 Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

The orb was created after the studio crowdfunded $50,000 to make the huge art installation.

Find out more about Burning Man sphere ›

Spherical architecture: Amazon Spheres, by NBBJ

Amazon Spheres, Seattle, USA, by NBBJ

American studio NBBJ created three intersecting glass orbs alongside retail company Amazon's headquarters in Seattle.

The structures were filled with "cloud forest" gardens, which will be used as additional workspace for the company's employees and a green space for the public.

Find out more about Amazon Spheres ›

Tianjin Binhai Public Library by MVRDV

Tianjin Binhai Public Library, Tianjin, China, by MVRDV

Dutch studio MVRDV designed Tianjin's public library to look like a huge eye, complete with an atrium built to look like a 3D eyeball. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves have been staggered to form the shape of an eye socket.

The library, which was completed in 2017, was one of five buildings commissioned by the city's Urban Planning and Design Institute to form a new cultural centre for Tianjin's Binhai district.

Find out more about Tianjin Binhai Public Library ›

A version of this story was originally published in 2020.