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04.19.2012
Unveiled> Broad Stage Expansion in Santa Monica
DLR Group WWCOT design a performing arts center to compliment its neighbors.
The Broad Stage performing arts center at Santa Monica College.
Courtesy DLR Group WWCOT

Broad Stage Expansion
Architect: DLR Group WWCOT
Client: Santa Monica College
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Completion: 2014

Eli Broad is getting a new neighbor. Well, at least one of his namesake buildings, the Broad Stage, is.

The Santa Monica-based theater just unveiled a $12.3 million addition to its Renzo Zecchetto-designed Broad Stage performing arts center, which opened in 2008. This time the architects will be DLR Group WWCOT.

Located just east of the existing theater, the new building will, combined with the Broad and an existing administrative building to the north, carve out a new plaza space for Santa Monica College, the building’s owner.

The project, paid for with a 2008 public bond issue, will feature a multi-use, 165-seat music hall and a rehearsal room, music lab, and storage above.

   
The new building helps to shape a new plaza for Santa Monica College.
 

The chief design challenge for the architects, pointed out DLR Group WWCOT principal Andrea Cohen Gehring, was “how do you add a building to an iconic structure like the Broad?” The goal, she said, was to compliment, not mimic or overpower that structure.

The firm started with The Broad Stage’s “beautifully composed series of materials,” which come together, said Gehring, “like music.” Set back slightly from the Broad, the minimal building will, like its neighbor, have a glazed façade and a large composite wood panel cantilevered canopy. But unlike that building, which is inward facing, much of the new building will reveal its inner workings, particularly the movement of people on its upper levels. The rest of the palette will include fiber cement board, precast board formed concrete, corrugated metal paneling and structural glazing.

The double-height lobby.
 

Inside a double height lobby will contain a large aluminum art wall inspired by how light enters the building. Accordion-style sliding glass doors will allow the building to open up completely to the plaza outside.

The building is aiming for LEED Silver. Its resurfaced courtyard will contain native plants and swales to retain storm water runoff. According to the masterplan for the complex, phase two of the project will bury the theater’s existing surface parking and replace it with another plaza. That plan will also include another building containing a gallery, offices and classrooms.

Other firms in the running for the project were Brooks + Scarpa and Moore Ruble Yudell.

Sam Lubell

 

 
Interior performance spaces (above). The ground floor plan (below).