The U.S. entertainment industry keeps amazing me. The first Disneyland opened in 1955, and ever since the industry has created experiences that amazingly combine architecture and technology.
The latest example is the MSG Sphere which will open its doors in Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 29, 2023. It is a large-scale immersive entertainment space hosting various events, concerts, competitions, and residencies from the world’s biggest artists.
The world’s largest spherical structure
The MSG Sphere was initially a partnership between the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) and Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which Apollo Global Management later replaced. The project’s final construction costs were $2.3 billion.
The architectural designer is Populous, a global architectural and design practice specializing in sports facilities, arenas, and convention centers, as well as the planning and designing of major special events.
AECOM began working on the site in February 2019. The project’s scheduled completion was in 2021 but was delayed due to COVID-19 and supply chain challenges. MSG took over as general contractor in December 2020, although AECOM continued to provide support.
The MSG Sphere is the world’s largest spherical structure, 516 feet (157 meters) wide and 366 feet (112 meters) tall. The dome’s roof required 3,000 tons of steel. Six thousand cubic yards (4,600 m3) of concrete were pumped onto the top to form a 10-inch (250 mm) cover.
Unique multi-sensory experiences
The exterior, the Exosphere, is a 580,000 square-foot (54,000 m2) fully programmable LED canvas. It was first lit on the Fourth of July, 2023.
The venue offers seating for 17,600 attendees. The auditorium is enveloped by an inner sphere housing the world’s largest LED screen with a resolution of 16K x 16K.
The immersive audio system of the event space is also unique. It has over 160,000 speakers and 10,000 “immersive seats” with infrasound capabilities. The venue also features multi-sensory technologies, such as scents and changing temperatures.
Sphere Entertainment Co., a live entertainment and media company, runs the MSG Sphere. They have launched an in-house production unit, Sphere Studios, to provide tailored immersive and multi-sensory content for the venue.
The MSG Sphere will undoubtedly become a major entertainment venue and landmark in Las Vegas. It will kick off with Postcard for Earth, a show demonstrating the capabilities of Sphere, followed by U2’s live concert U2:UV Achtung Baby Live.
Sphere Entertainment has announced plans to build another Sphere in London’s East End. However, it has faced criticism from Stratford residents and some City Hall politicians. They are mainly worried about the light pollution that the building would bring on. At the time of writing, it is still unclear when the project will move on.
The title image is courtesy of Sphere Entertainment