Chapman University Musco Center for the Arts
The jury was impressed with the beauty of the music hall interiors which felt embracing and warm. The attention to detail and material integrated well into the architectural forms.
Congratulations Pfeiffer Partners Architects, Inc.
- Citation Award
Completion Date: 2/19/2016
Square Footage: 88142
Building Use: Performing Arts
Location: Orange, California
The design for the Musco Center for the Arts looks forward while honoring the past, embodying Chapman University’s longstanding traditions and establishing a distinctive space on campus that acts as the cultural heart for the community. The challenges for the design were height restrictions, conformity to the campus’ architectural vernacular, and budget. Through scale, siting and material, we created a facility that offers an updated expression of the surrounding structures and landscape.
The building is designed as a series of layered “gardens.” The architecture, landscaping, and interiors all draw inspiration from the concept of a renaissance garden. From the Bette and Wylie Aitken Arts Plaza, the Milan Panic Amphitheatre, and the Center itself, the design of the new plaza and lawn recalls the sunken lawn that once stood before Memorial Hall, and this new expanse of greenery will host outdoor productions that will further establish the cultural core of the campus. Due to height limitations, the site was excavated to enhance a strong axial approach. The building is fronted by a grand archway and flanked asymmetrically by four majestic columns, representing the four pillars of Chapman: the intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual. Transitioning through these pillars, one enters the enclosed “garden” of the lobby, a gathering space that looks both outward, with exterior balconies overlooking the plaza and amphitheater, and inward to the heart of the building and the theater. Inside the multi levels of the lobby are shifted to form terraces with openings that afford multi-level vertical perspectives of the main hall’s exterior skin which, articulated in a diagonal pattern of reveals, recalls garden parterres. Furthering this garden concept, the accent lighting and chandelier resemble fireflies or dewdrops, a theme continued as one enters the last layer, the secret garden of the theatre. Finally, custom lobby carpet patterns informed by traditional parterre plantings balance a mix of hard edges with soft curves, the open lattice design “floating” over and sometimes immersed in a field of silver, platinum, aluminum and stainless steel colors, accented with a deep ruby red. The unexpected shapes and the crisp coloration lend a vivid contemporary aesthetic.
The design for the interior of the audience chamber—which supports both symphonic music and the dramatic arts equally well by means a one-of-a-kind fully flown orchestra shell—was inspired by the secret garden or ragnaia—an element in the Italian garden, a thickly planted grove or outdoor “room.” The complex acoustic reflections and diffusion required by the acoustician were resolved by a reinterpretation of the multi layers of the acanthus plant as into large abstract petal and leaf shaped wall panels, building on the architectural language of the ragnaia and wrapping the rich copper palette into the ceiling elements, made of woven wire fabrics in metallic layering. The fasciae of the balcony fronts are cut cherry wood and articulate sound reflection throughout the hall. The seat fabrics add coolness and depth to the experience, counter balancing the warmth of the overall copper enriched environment.
The seat fabrics add coolness and depth to the experience, counter balancing the warmth of the overall copper enriched environment.
C.O.T.E. | Committee on the Environment
|Pfeiffer Partners Architects|
|Pfeiffer Partners Architects|
Associate Architect or Firm:
|Pfeiffer Partners Architects, Inc.
811 West 7th Street, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017
William Murray, AIA, Principal/Project Director
Norman Pfeiffer, FAIA, Design Principal
Kevin O’Brien, AIA, LEED AP, Principal (former)
Brian Nichols, AIA, Associate
|Bennitt Design Group
Owner / Developer:
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
Kris Eric Olsen, Vice President
Campus Planning and Operations
KPFF Consulting Engineers
Michael Dygean, Principal
Syska Hennessy Group
Raji Khouri, Senior Associate
Nagata Acoustics, Inc.
Yasuhisa Toyota, D.Sc., President
Development Resource Consultants, Inc.
|McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
E. Teal Brogden, Senior Principal
Benton Delinger, Principal
Fred Vogler, Principal
Ema Peter Photography