29 Aug 20 | Dezeen

Nine examples of spherical architecture from around the globe

By Tom Ravenscroft

Foster + Partners' new Apple Store in Singapore is the latest example of the trend for spherical buildings. Here are nine recent globe-shaped examples.

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 is nearing completion and is set to open in 2020, seven years later than originally planned.

Apple Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, by Foster + Partners
The latest Apple Store designed by British architecture studio Foster + Partners is a spherical building that appears to float within 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.

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

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

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.

Al Wasl Plaza at Dubai Expo 2020, Dubai, UAE, by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill
Spherical architecture will also be making an appearance at the Dubai Expo, which has been postponed form 2020 to 2021, with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill designing a globe-shaped plaza for the centre of the expo site.

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

MSG Sphere, London, UK, by Populous
UK architecture studio Populous has designed a pair of spherical music venues for the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG).

MSG Sphere London in England's capital will be the first of the venues to be built with an almost identical arena planned for a site in Las Vegas, USA.

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.

Amazon Spheres, Seattle, USA, by NBBJ
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 will be used as additional workspace for the company's employees and a green space for the public.

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.