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It’s wonderful to see a structure that truly challenges the conventions of familiar architecture and the (a) Ball auditorium appears to do this in a couple of ways. It begins with a spherical framework inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s revolutionary geodesic dome, and continues with an eccentric skin that renders its rational form unrecognizable.
Sure, the hexagonal tessellation of its cladding units matches the engineered geometries of the unembellished original, but Donovan Ballantyne set out to explore more organic and dramatic surface effects to give the sphere a facelift. In his words, “A face with no ears, no eyes, no nose is not a face. Similarly a building with no face is not architecture.”
Housed within the marvelously outlandish (a) Ball auditorium is a rock star arena. And infusing the odd edifice with even more life, the coral calyxes act like ears to transmit the performance’s sound outside and Los Angeles’s urban noise inside.