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The Sphere Made Possible with Exterior Wall Panels

Have you heard the buzz? The Sphere, noted as the world’s largest spherical structure, is the hottest new entertainment venue in Las Vegas that opened in the fall of 2023. It seats almost 18,000 people and touts 4D immersive technology that take live shows to the next level.

This one-of-a-kind structure required one-of-a-kind building materials and exterior cladding that could accommodate the atypical geometries, project timelines, and significant daily foot traffic. Offsite construction, in the form of Dryvit’s Outsulite prefabricated panels of continuous insulation (CI), was the key method for streamlining the façade installation and ensuring quality control for the difficult building connections.

Efficiencies in Exterior Wall Panelization

For the base of the Sphere, an angled collar was designed using uniquely angled prefabricated EIFS wall panels from Dryvit. To speed the panelization process even further, an offsite fabrication yard was set up just two miles from the construction site. There, they received the metal stud frames, and the 142 CI panels were assembled with Dryvit insulation and finishes.

While the EIFS panels were being prefabricated, crews worked on-site to install the layout and clip system. Placement had to be exact for the multi-angled walls to fit precisely. Detailed plans and drawings during the pre-construction ensured the accuracy of panel prefabrication and installation.

The Challenge

To install the CI panels, a 40-ton crane flew the numbered panels into place. The trapezoidal exterior wall assemblies were positioned at varying angles to make the flat panels form a curved shape. The EIFS panels were a single story tall and started with a 16-foot panel at the base and increased up to 37 feet for an upward slope that leaned out to form the middle of the sphere. Panels then reversed in length from 37 feet to 16 feet to the top of the sphere.

The exterior wall panelization approach with Dryvit streamlined construction and enabled the Sphere to have a sturdy base that is highly insulated and durable enough to withstand the consistent pedestrian traffic.

Introductory Guide to Off-Site Construction

Click the button below to learn more about the benefits and various applications of prefabrication and modular building in this Introductory Guide to Off-Site Construction.

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