7 Examples of Spherical Architecture from Around the Globe

If a spherical building enjoys repeatable structural elements and easy connecting details, it can be just as efficient and economical as a rectilinear building. At once futuristic and timeless, a perfectly sphere building is a feat of engineering that instantly creates a sense of allure, perhaps because it resembles the shape of our own planet! Here are 7 examples of spherical architecture from around the globe.



Amazon Spheres, Seattle, USA

American studio NBBJ created three intersecting glass orbs alongside retail company Amazon's headquarters in Seattle. The structures are filled with "cloud forest" gardens, which are used as additional workspace for the company's employees and a green space for the public. Of the trio, the largest "sphere" measures approximately 27 meters tall and 39 meters in diameter.




Tianjin Binhai Public Library, Tianjin, China

Dutch studio MVRDV designed Tianjin's public library to look like a huge eye. The five-story-high space is framed by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, which are staggered at different levels to form the shape of an eye socket, while a spherical glowing auditorium at the center forms the pupil. The upper shelves are currently unreachable. As a result, these shelves are covered in perforated aluminum plates that are printed to look like books. This 33,700-square-metre Library was completed in 2017.




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

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill designed a globe-shaped plaza for the center of the Dubai Expo 2020 site. It combines breathtaking design, innovative technology, and an intricate domed trellis. Al Wasl is the historical name for Dubai but also means “connection” in Arabic, reflecting both Dubai’s goal of bringing people together at the Expo and the plaza’s physical location at the heart of the site. The dome is 130 meters wide, 67 meters tall, and weighs more than 500 tons.




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

In 2017, Kazakhstan hosted the EXPO International Specialized Exhibition. EXPO 2017 was designed with a special focus on the exhibition topic, Future Energy. This is the world’s largest spherically-shaped building, measuring 100 m in height from the plinth level and 80 m in diameter. Its total area is 24,000 sq. m. Since the exposition’s completion, the building has transitioned into a museum of science and technology that focuses on future energy solutions. 




MSG Sphere, London, UK
by Populous

Populous designed this 18,000-seat spherical arena to host both music and sports events for the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). The exterior of the sphere will be covered in digital screens used to promote artists and brands. Internally the seating bowl will feature a screen that the MSG describes as the "largest and highest resolution media display on Earth".




Apple Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
by Foster + Partners

This Apple Store designed by British architecture studio Foster + Partners is a spherical building that appears to float within Singapore's Marina Bay. The store is completely surrounded by water and is accessible by a bridge from the waterfront promenade and an underwater tunnel that connects it to the Marina Bay Sands shopping center.




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

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures project comprises the renovation of the 1930s May Company Building and a new glass sphere designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The glass sphere hosts a 1,000-seat theatre and a dome-covered terrace with views of the Hollywood Hills, while the main building will contain a collection of film memorabilia including set designs, costumes, props, and interactive installations.








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