The sphere is the most perfect geometric figure that exists, and its use in architecture comes from the hand of a material called steel.
Hi, the most important figure in the history of the mankind is, certainly, the sphere. You must think that this phrase is completely certain for several reasons, the first (and the more obvious) is that your peculiar and famous friend Rodolfo (I am) tells you, he never lies. The second is that we are born and develop our lives in one of them: the Earth, although this is a trap sphere, as it is slightly flattened by the poles.
The third is that our Greek ancestors knew already, in fact, a «such» Eratosthenes made the first measurement of the Earth’s elliptical surface, he calculated 250,000 stadia (unit of measurement equivalent to a sports stadium at the time, obviously). The connoisseurs say that Eratosthenes approached quite to the measure real of the world, at least, to which we consider today as real. There are more reasons, as is the form of our cells, our atoms and the majority of our fruits, although I like another completely different and no, is not football.
The sphere has a particularity that makes its contribution desirable in architecture, its perfect distribution of forces, the domes are an example of how can get huge spaces using this principle. In honor of this figure geometric, and as a good excuse to travel the world, I have visited several of the largest spherical buildings on the planet. As it could not be otherwise I started by Stockholm, in Sweden, you know that there is the building larger with spherical shape of the world.
It is the Ericsson Globe Arena, whose opening was held in 1989 with a capacity for 16,000 spectators and covering an area of 18,000 square meters. The managers for the design were the architects Svante Berg and Lars Vretblad, they gave it this fantastic spherical shape that has turned the building into the attraction of the city. It has a diameter of 110 meters and a height of 85, sheltering inside some 605,000 cubic meters of air, almost nothing.
The structure has been made, of course, with the best material possible for this type of building, a material capable of withstanding the loads to which it will be subjected, traction, torsion or bending. About 3,000 tonnes of steel make it possible to this construction, it is distributed in curved beams around the perimeter. Since I was there, I climbed to the Skyview, a new attraction that elevate to the top of the building, to 130 meters, to enjoy all Stockholm… fantastic! (I also bought tickets to see Mariah Carey on April…).
From Stockholm I traveled to Japan, my beloved second home (one of most loved, at least), expect me another great adventure, enjoy of the world’s largest planetarium, located in the city of Naboya. This Planetarium is 35 meters in diameter and after an ambitious renovation it was re-opened to the public in the year 2011, you can see a sky full of stars, images of the polar aurora or suffer the effects of extreme temperatures, an artificial tornado up to 8 metres or experience a great electric shock (amazing).
But the better is outside, the Naboya City Science Museum is divided into two buildings covered by a vertical garden. In the middle, as if floating, an enormous metallic sphere that accommodated the Planetarium. I not will say the selfies that I did, but I will tell you that I was not alone… Exhausted, I sought rest in another building of spherical shape, but this construction is a little flat, as if it were the shell of a mollusk, almost unwittingly I was enjoying the attentions of the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel in China.
The Hotel reaches 97 meters in height, and is composed of an envelope of 10,000 pieces of glass subject to a supporting structure. It have 18.075 square meters of floorspace, 21 floors with 306 rooms and, the most shocking, was built in only 24 months by about 9,300 workers. The best, however, are its 12 boutique hotels, 14 restaurants and bars, its marina, its leisure facilities and fitness and other things that I lived, as its hospitality.
Then, I traveled to the Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park in the India, inside of the site exist a beautiful building ellipsoid whose inclination of 10 degrees gives a futuristic air, the building is the central of Infosys, the famous technological House. The designer and architect, Hafeez Contractor, is very popular in his country for his commitment in the caring of the environment. Once again, I set off, my next destination: Canada, in particular I went to Montreal, where in the year 1.967 Richard Buckminster Fuller designed an exquisite metallic sphere for the Universal exhibition of that year.
This building, which housed the U.S. Pavilion quickly became in an icon and referent of the exhibition, its 62.8 meters high and diameter of 76.2 contained 189.724 cubic meters of volume in a tubular structure never seen before. A curious acrylic surround allowed the control of the inside temperature by engines powered by solar energy (yes, you read correctly, the solar energy existed in 1967). But the acrylic enclosure was destroyed by a fire in 1976. Years later, in 1992, a «such» Éric Gauthier won a contest to rehabilitate the property and become the first museum in Canada devoted to water and the environment.
At this point of my journey around the globe (in search of «globes») was about to commit a folly, to trust in certain media who claimed that it had been built in Dubai the famous Technosphere of James Law Cybertecture, a giant sphere of metal and self-sufficient energy, designed to withstand the most drastic temperature differences… fortunately, I called my always adventurous Cristina and she assured me that the building not had been built, she will inform me when this happen, and I, if I have it to good, I will notify you. Bye bye.