About This Project

SCA’s entry for a competition to design a new theatre in China takes its inspiration from ancient Chinese puzzle balls.

Chinese puzzle balls are intricately carved artifacts consisting of several concentric spheres, each freely rotating within the next and formed from a single block of material. Traditionally crafted by master carvers, each ball is typically composed of up to 10 concentric layers. They received their name from the curiosity and wonder their making inspired.

A spherical massing was chosen as the most efficient geometry for enclosing the largest volume will the least surface material. The primary structure is a twin layer geodesic dome formed of tubular steel members connecting to machined spherical nodes. The cladding panels are formed of GRC and sit as a rainscreen over a substrate formed of insulated aluminium panels with integrated glazing units.

The cladding geometry is inspired by patterns found in window screens from the region. The 97% of the surface can be covered using a limited range of 30 panel shapes allowing for significant efficiencies in form making and quality control.

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Project Title:
'Puzzle Ball' Theatre




Leisure, Cultural, Theatre