$1.6B Vegas Sphere Gets 170-Ton Ring


The $1.66 billion MSG Sphere at The Venetian project, in Las Vegas, has reached a milestone as crews lifted a 170-ton steel compression ring into place last week. The 100-foot-diamter ring now sits at the top of the temporary 285-foot-tall shoring tower at the center of the structure.

In order to position the giant piece, crews reportedly spent almost a month assembling it on the ground before using the DEMAG CC-8800 crane (the fourth-largest crawler crane in the world, which arrived on site this time last year) to hoist it into place.

Crews will use a hydraulic lift to calibrate the ring’s exact position before roof trusses are put in place. When complete, the roof will stand 366 feet tall, and the building will be 516 feet at its widest point.

The project is still expected to be complete in 2023.

Project Background

The project broke ground in September 2018, as a collaboration between the Madison Square Garden Company and Las Vegas Sands Corp., along with designs from Populous.

The technology behind the 350-foot-tall, 500-feet-in-diameter sphere was originally unveiled in February 2018.

Officials at the time touted “beamformed” technology for the sound transmission—enabled by thousands of tiny speakers embedded into the venue walls—that will give the same sound clarity for people in the back as the people in the front.

The sphere’s interior will have a digital display plane of a 170,000 square feet, and its exterior counterpart, wrapped in an open-air trellis structure, will hold 580,000 square feet of programmable surface.

Inside, the display will be the largest and highest resolution LED display plane in the world, according to officials.

Gov. Brian Sandoval touted some other numbers at the groundbreaking, including the estimated 3,500 construction jobs and 4,400 permanent jobs at the site. Once the sphere is complete, it is expected to bring $730 million in annual economic impact and $48 million in estimated tax revenue. MSG selected AECOM as the general contractor in June 2019.

As mentioned, in February of last year, the world’s fourth-largest crawler crane arrived onsite from Belgium. The crane, dubbed the DEMAG CC-8800, can extend 580 feet high weighs 869 tons. The crane can also rotate 360 degrees.

After being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, it reportedly took 120 tractor-trailers to deliver the crane, and then 18 days to assemble it.

On top of the crane’s weight, 850 tons of counterweight have been added for stability.

In August, officials confirmed a new construction schedule for the DEMAG, which included three main tasks: superstructure concrete work, structural steel and the building of the steel-domed roof.

In October, MSG Entertainment confirmed that a pair of steel girders (a combined 240 tons) were put it place earlier this month. The girders span the length of the venue’s stage and will support the structure’s 13,000-ton steel-domed roof—the heaviest lift of the project.

The two girders were reportedly formed by placing two pairs of 100-ton steel tubs on top of one another. The bottom halves of each girder were set in place at the end of September by the crawler crane.

After that, concrete was pumped to the bottom of the tubs, followed by another tub lifted into place, creating a hollow cavity. To finish, the cavities will be filled with more concrete.

These girders and concrete are vital to the structure’s foundational support.

Most recently, at the end of last year, some contracts on the project shifted, as MSG Entertainment Co. announced that it was taking over construction management duties from general contractor AECOM.

According to reports, AECOM has transitioned from its role as general contractor with a new services agreement that facilitates involvement with the Sphere through the project’s completion.

The project now falls under new President of Development and Construction at MSG, Jayne McGivern, who has assembled a team of professionals for the project.

“We have taken significant steps to strengthen our internal construction team,” McGivern said in a statement at the time. “This, along with valued support from AECOM, will give us greater transparency and control over the construction process while enabling us to continue benefiting from AECOM’s expertise. MSG Sphere will be a venue unlike any other, and we believe we are well-positioned to not only advance our Las Vegas project, but also deliver on our long-term vision for MSG Sphere.”


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Public spaces; Structural steel

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