Since the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts by Studio Pali Fekete Architects (SPF:a) broke ground in 2010, the new arts building continues to gain recognition. Recent examples include a Civic Award in the Los Angeles Architectural Awards and a Rehabilitation Award at the 31st California Preservation Design Awards Ceremony.
SPF:a was appointed in 2006 to design the new $75 million arts center. Situated in the heart of sunny Beverly Hills, California, the Wallis Annenberg Center complex also includes the restored and renovated historic 1934 Beverly Hills Post Office building.
Learn more about the project below.
"The new 60,000 sq. ft., $75 million arts center is located in the heart of Beverly Hills and encompasses two new theaters, educational facilities, administration and theater support areas. The program is housed in a complex that includes the historic Beverly Hills Post Office building and a new theater block, knitted together by a series of carefully landscaped courtyards and walkways."
"The larger of the two theaters -- the 500 seat Goldsmith Theater -- is contained within a new building located to the south east of the original historic 1934 Post Office building. The Post Office building has been completely renovated and restored, and is now home to the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, a café and store, a series of educational facilities, a theater administration suite and a full range of theater support spaces."
"SPF:a were appointed as architects for the project in 2006. The concept that SPF:a created was radically different than proposals that had previously been put forth: rather than place the 500-seat theater in the existing Post Office as others had proposed, SPF:a conceived a brand new adjacent building for the theater establishing a formal counterpoint to the existing historic structure. This innovative design solution allowed the main fabric of the historic building to be retained while also ensuring that the new large theater could be designed without compromise or constraint that would have been an inevitable consequence of using the older structure."
"The new Goldsmith Theater is housed in a building that is distinctly contemporary and uniqu in its appearance, creating a dynamic dialogue between old and new. The theater is wrapped in a combination of glazed walls and solid paneling, with the panels taking an abstracted form referencing envelopes that recalls the original function of the site. "
"To create a strong visual connection and dialogue between the buildings, the exterior of the new building deliberately adopts colors of the existing Post Office building while the simple geometric form of the new cladding provides a contemporary foil that does not overshadow the ornate detailing of the neo-classical Post Office."
"Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA, founding principal of Studio Pali Fekete says, 'We thought that the best way to serve the historic Post Office building was to develop a design strategy that barely touches the existing building yet adds a counterpoint to it, creating a dialogue between the two forms. We have created a new building that seeks to reflect the significant cultural history of the historic Post Office rather than mirror the architectural history of the building.'"
"Pali further describes the form of the cladding: “In our design for the exterior of the new building we began with the whimsical notion of ‘what if the millions of letters that came through the post office all returned to cover the new form?’. From this lyrical starting point we abstracted and refined the cladding design to use a single concrete panel material which through simple geometric form and varied panel spacing creates an elegant façade that evolves as one moves around the building.”
Photos courtesy of Studio Pali Fekete Architects.
Click the thumbnails below to see project plans.
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