Building the innovative egg-shaped auditorium

A homage to Buckminster Fuller

The auditorium is a tri-part collaboration between maker, engineer and designer. A homage to Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic it offers a large single volume space with the least amount of material possible. Structural analysis of load path analysis has allowed the geodesic to escape the restrictions of a pure spherical form.

A deformed geodesic offers the potential for a more useful solution which is defined by the functions contained within rather than being a slave to geometry. Harnessing Gorden Cowley’s lifetime passion for timber technology we were able to develop a simple grid shell of larch poles in the round, clad in a utilitarian shell of birch plywood panels a reference to the spirit of the 1940’s host building.

The challenge with the geometry was auditory with the faceted form generating a distracting reflection within the auditorium seating. Triangulated absorption panels removed the nuisance echo resulting in a perfect acoustic for instrumental performances.

Architectural model of the auditorium, made from pencils
[1] Architectural model of the auditorium, made from pencils
The auditorium structure is made of wooden 'pencils'
[2] The auditorium structure is made of wooden 'pencils'
The 'pencils' connect into nodes
[3] The 'pencils' connect into nodes
Factory prototype
[4] Factory prototype
Constructing the nodes
[5] Constructing the nodes
The finished auditorium
[6] The finished auditorium
Useful and beautiful
[7] Useful and beautiful