In English | ISSUE 4/2023

Niemeyer Sphere – white concrete sculpture in Leipzig

Niemeyer Sphere – white concrete sculpture in Leipzig
Photo credit: Margret Hoppe

One of the last designs of the acclaimed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (1907 – 2012) was realised in the Leipzig industrial district in Germany.

The Niemeyer Sphere project started in 2011, when Ludwig Koehne wrote a letter to Oscar Niemeyer asking him to design the extension of the factory canteen on the roof of his plant that manufactures special cranes. The canteen was to be used for functions and special occasions.

The Niemeyer Sphere was completed in the summer of 2020 after a seven-year design and construction period.

The building extension realised as a spherical sculpture was built from white concrete and glass. It is located in the Leipzig industrial district at a height of eight metres on the roof of a 100 years old industrial brick building. The protected building is owned by Kirow Ardelt GmbH that manufactures special cranes.

The production of the concrete formwork, the mixing of the concrete and the actual pouring work were challenging tasks. The requirement was to produce a pure white, smooth sphere. After numerous tests and colour samples, the shell was made from pure white concrete.

The pouring and reinforcing of the sphere’s 200 mm thick shell required a high level of professional expertise and several mockups.

A total of 98 cubic metres of concrete was needed for the sphere. The sphere is statically completely independent of the old building and mounted on a new concrete shaft dyed in a brownish-red colour. The consumption of concrete for the shaft totalled 68 cubic metres.

Read the entire article in Finnish and see the images >>