An ominous giant sphere could be coming to Stratford, and despite its apocalyptic appearance, it’s actually a concert hall.

The MSG Sphere London is a building proposed by The Madison Square Garden Company and if approved by Newham Council, will be identical to the (under construction) MSG Sphere Las Vegas.

Although it looks curved from a distance, a bit like The Gherkin, the curved surface will be made up of flat triangular solid black stainless steel panels with embedded LED pixels, on a frame that then curves around to form the sphere.

The external LED pixels can then be animated to create a gigantic video screen, to promote events, or for advertising.

For customers, the most dramatic effect will be inside the main dome, as the internal surface can also be turned into a giant screen alongside the main stage.

Many visitors would not unreasonably assume that the inside of the sphere matches the outside, there are actually different shapes, with a space between the two skins being used for plant and machinery. In a way, not unlike how the internal dome of St Paul’s Cathedral doesn’t match the dome when seen from the outside.

That double skin serving not just to hide the plant rooms, but also acting as a sound barrier so that the noise inside doesn’t leak out to annoy the neighbours.

The venue would have a seated capacity of 17,566 and a 21,500 capacity with people standing on the event floor. The overall site capacity is 25,000 people, when including the secondary sites.

A separate 1,500-capacity venue will also be included in the MSG Sphere to “help support grassroots and emerging music acts”, while a 450-capacity restaurant and nightclub, retail spaces and cafes are also being planned.

Around 1,000 staff will be needed to run the sphere.

The Madison Square Garden Company claims that the London metropolitan area has two large capacity venues for concerts, and that the MSG Sphere intends to help meet the demands of the London market. However, various commentators have raised concerns regarding the construction and location of the new venue. The venue is strongly opposed by some local residents who have started petitions against the proposals.

Although its location right next to Stratford station would normally be seen as a positive, as it’s on the same stretch of Jubilee line as the Millennium Dome in North Greenwich, there has also been concerns about whether two large attractions should be so close to each other.

If the planning application is approved, then construction could start next year.

There will be a display about the MSG Sphere at Westfield Stratford City shopping centre — on the Ground Floor, outside Ernest Jones:

  • Thursday 28 March 10am-9pm
  • Friday 29 March 10am-9pm
  • Saturday 30 March 9am-9pm

Images above from the planning application.

It absolutely doesn’t look like The Day the Earth Stood Still. Nope, not at all.

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10 comments on “Giant black sphere coming to Stratford
  1. Melvyn says:

    Looks like structures seen in Star Trek or Dr Who !

    It also seems to really be a giant advertisement screen something that could cause both annoyance and health concerns for people with conditions like epilepsy where flashing lights can bring on seizures.

  2. Stephen Smith-Lane says:

    Why Black, looks ugly.

  3. Steph says:

    No point, the O2 is so close to Stratford!

  4. Paul says:

    Why can’t this be the indoor snow ski slope that they originally talked about putting there? At least it would be used day in, day out. The item already mentions its close to the Millennium Dome as well as the some time open air concert venue at the former Olympic Stadium. I think this is another case of people getting confused over which Westfield it is and the developer thinks its going to be next to the west London one!

  5. Junior Bailey says:

    I would hope the jobs to help build and work in this venue will go to the local community of Newham

  6. Nelli Andriukaityte says:

    I am futuristic, optimistic and like new technologies. Why not? Hope to get job here!
    But let’s be realistic and see, how Brexit ends and what events we will have there, uh!

  7. J Cran says:

    I feel that this erection will only add to the high-rise ghetto that Stratford has become. It is appauling if there were to be advertising flashing all over it. For many reasons: epilepsy, dyslexics, visually impaired, light pollution, turning London into a vulger Las Vagas, turning London into the ‘Blade Runner’ distopia (as if Londoners didn’t have enough to depressed about.). I’m not opposed to the shape of the building; although not very practical. I feel Stratford and Newham Council ought to focus there attention in building robust coucil social housing that the homeless, single minimum wage people can rent. Stop relying on corporate giants to give back into the community; because they often don’t. Keeping their profits to themselves or whisked away to their company’s country of origin. I’m not opposed to commercial enterprise, far from it. What I expect from companies opperating in this day and age are social responsibility, environmental responsibility, equality and community service. Stratford is in danger of being a dreadfully impersonal and inaccessable place; where noone wants to be or live.

  8. JP says:

    In January we were shown the 2000 seater in a twisting triangle planned for when the museum of London leaves its roundabout. Now this venue with a much-needed ten times that amount comes rolling along. Both allow for gallons of air overhead which can only but help the a/c systems.
    Exciting, different, exemplars of don’t judge a book by its cover, I suppose.
    But why do residents and passers~by have to suffer the ills of a sparkly bollock emblazoned with 200ft high adverts for nappies, say and other comestibles, with an occasional slither of who’s on stage inside as a sop.
    I can’t see record companies allowing the ticketless outsiders to be shown what’s going on inside on it, but wow what if they did? And you liked the artist/s too!

  9. Barry ‘the Bitch’ Barrows says:

    This sphere be a monstrosity. I hope it never built.

  10. Garrett Wang (not that one) says:

    I can’t believe a council would consider building this so close to people’s homes.

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