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.
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.
More from Modular Advantage
This modular QSR project seemed like any another modular building on the surface. Inside, it was anything but. The rhythm, the desire to iterate and repeat, and the constant communication between all parties made it stand out.
At a time when modular buildings were still seen as less than by many in the architecture and construction world, Sara.Ann Logan took the plunge and partnered to launch a design-build firm that designed, built, and constructed modular high-end single-family homes. But even though she could see the value of this kind of construction, it wasn’t universally accepted.
City, county, and state government bodies are reaching out to Fading West Development, a modular manufacturer and developer in Buena Vista, CO, to learn more about how they are using modular construction to solve the affordable housing crisis in Colorado. Governments are eager to learn how they’ve made modular development successful and profitable while meeting the growing need for affordable housing.
While most people think of construction as a gradually layered process, MEP assemblies—such as the modular ones—tend to provide all-in-one installs, like a car factory. A modular MEP product helps developers, architects, and fellow modular manufacturers reach their goals through early integration and planning. MEP assemblies address all the unseen things like electrical, heating, and plumbing when looking at a finalized building. The very nature of MEP assemblies are crucial to any initial prospectus.
Offsite modular construction lags far behind other industries in embracing and adopting automation. Some people believe it will decrease jobs. Others feel they’ve done okay without it, so why change? In reality, conventional construction methods simply cannot keep up. Cooper Lane of Brave Control Solutions points to the labor shortage and the housing crisis that’s rampant in Canada, the U.S., and globally.
The CSA Public Policy Centre’s new report, Seizing the Modular Construction Opportunity, highlights how innovative modular methods can help to bring various building forms—from single unit housing to complex high-rises—online more quickly. Owing to efficient manufacturing practices and controlled factory environments, modular can achieve completion rates that are 25% to 50% faster than conventional construction approaches.
A new set of considerations have induced leaders of major global manufacturing enterprises to reconsider their site selection decisions. Among these are: 1) a desire for simpler logistics emphasizing shorter transit distances and times; 2) a need to better protect intellectual property; 3) more reliable court systems; 4) incentives offered by the USMCA, America’s trade deal with Canada and Mexico; and 5) a recent set of subsidies offered under packages like the Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Air casters mean flexibility, not just in terms of movement but also in terms of change. For example, one structure might be 56-feet-long and another 76-feet-long. Air casters allow manufacturers to easily accommodate a variety of shapes and sizes of boxes and then make changes on the fly.
In his “Moonshot” speech in 1962, President Kennedy challenged his fellow citizens to land a man on the moon and bring him safely back to earth before 1970. He showed leadership, reimagining human potential and progress, and this famous speech has been an inspiration for many to get things done. Likewise, a “Home-shot” speech that challenges citizens to remove lengthy procedures and “carefully” remove some of the mountain of red tape required for permitting before 2030 would certainly make a huge difference.
Born in Jordan forty years ago, Nesheiwat is something of an outsider to the modular housing world. His entrepreneurial spirit led him from a childhood growing up in Yonkers, New York, to the more provincial location of Poughkeepsie where he delved into many unique business ventures. Not one to shy away from a challenge, he took on projects that seemed impossible, often in the housing sector. His innate sense of the fundamentals in finance, corporate branding, and business expansion have led him to where he is today.