Acid Ball

The Acid Accumulator from the defunct Georgia Pacific mill on Bellingham's waterfront has been transformed into a new art installation placed in the new city park along Whatcom Waterway currently underway.

The Acid Ball is a powerfully authentic artifact that connects us to Bellingham’s mighty industrial past.  There is a beauty in its inherent form that we are celebrating and transmuting into a beacon, marking the past and drawing a line to the future. Waypoint is the title for our proposal as we seek to acknowledge both its history and its new life.


 We asked ourselves,

                “What is the smallest biggest move we can make?”

We took the project criteria seriously and our concept is intentional in authentically representing the industrial character of the artifact by maintaining its integrity of the existing shape and form. We early on eliminated concepts that augmented, pierced, punctured, sliced and/or changed the object into something novel.  

Our proposal takes a simple and restrained approach with one MACRO move at an urban scale, combined with one MICRO move at a molecular scale.   By repositioning the ball to the water’s edge, it becomes a beacon from land and water and a visual terminus to the existing axis of the courthouse stair. Our proposed new Acid Ball location draws people into the site to explore and approach the artifact connecting it to both to the city and the water’s edge. At night it becomes a beacon. 

We want to pay homage to the Acid Ball’s historic industrial past, by using an industrial material coating in a new way.

"When we thought of a durable, low maintenance, vandal and weather resistant coating - what could be more appropriate than a coating used for highways and roads?"

We began experiments with high index reflective glass coatings and we were continually surprised by our experiments with this humble material and mesmerized by the way the light bounced and interacted with the environment around it. Each day a new experience - the sunlight, rain, evening flashlights we found this material to be magical and our team recognized that this coating alone could transform the Acid Ball it into a beacon. 



Architectural Team:

Kristen Becker

Jim Friesz

Saul Becker



Bellingham, WA



Benjamin Benschneider


Architects + Artisans - June 2020

Dexigner - June 2020

Floor Nature- November 2019

88Design Box- August 2019

Metacolus- June 2019

Dezeen-June 2019 

Bellingham Herald -December 2018

Miami Herald- April 2018

Landscape Architecture Magazine -December 2017