High School Musical

High School Musical

The laser-cut acoustical screen.

Just weeks from completion, a shiny new auditorium by L.A.’s Hodgetts + Fung looks to put the little town of Menlo Park, CA on the architecture map.  The $28 million project is at a public institution of learning–Menlo-Atherton High–and the 500-seat venue was designed with top-notch acoustics and a stage that can accommodate a full symphony orchestra, in the hopes of  also hosting performances by professional touring groups. Painted in Kynar metallic paint (copper was too expensive), the exterior gleams. But the real treat is inside: the acoustical scrim around the stage is laser-cut with a pattern based on the historic oaks outside. 

Craig Hodgetts–whose team beat out Antoine Predock and Rob Quigley for the commission–says the high school principal’s vision was that “theater should not be an upholstered, bourgeois experience, but something a bit more confrontational.” We say: Bring it on! Here’s a sneak peek at how things are shaping up before the official opening in October:

The view from the road