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.