The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, now in its eleventh season, is UC Davis’ world-class performing arts facility. It is the premier performance venue in Northern California and the regional destination for the best in classical music, dance, distinguished speakers, jazz, theatre and world music. The design team at Kerrie Kelly Design Lab was luckily enough to enjoy a private tour of the stunning facility just this week.
The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts is a 104,000-square foot facility renowned for its outstanding acoustics and attractive design. The building cost $60.9 million, with construction beginning in May 2000. The facility was designed by BOORA Architects of Portland, Oregon, an award-winning firm that has designed nearly 60 theaters nationwide. The Mondavi Center’s architecture and technology are state-of-the-art. Features include an orchestra shell that rises out onto the main hall’s stage on “air casters,” and acoustic curtains that allow spaces to be tuned for performances ranging from a single spoken voice to a large, amplified band. The facility includes two performance venues supported by a full complement of performance, production support space and reception areas. As guests of Alison Morr Kolozsi from Modavi Center, our team was able to go behind the scenes to see not only the stage but the VIP boxes, too.
Jackson Hall was built in a shoebox shape to mimic the acoustic of classic concert halls in Vienna, Boston, and Amsterdam, using Indian sandstone and reclaimed Douglas fir.
The Douglas fir used in constructing Jackson Hall at the Mondavi Center came from trees that were logged in the 1800’s. The tree sunk to the bottom of Canada’s Ruby Lake and extracted by a company specializing in timber reclamation–some of the wood is 400-500 years old. Jackson Hall can be “tuned” for different types of performances by adjusting the ceiling curtains—each of which weighs 2,200 pounds—in order to increase or decrease hall resonance. The ceiling curtains are suspended 73 feet above the floor and can be raised or lowered through slots in the ceiling. There are also acoustic curtains situated behind the wooden grillage ringing the top of the hall. They range from 12 to 22 feet in length, and may also be moved to “tune” hall resonance. Jackson Hall is essentially a “building within a building,” insulated from exterior noise and vibration by a double wall with two feet of insulated air space between layers. A basement space four to six feet in height lies below the orchestra level floor.
KKDL Team and Alison Morr Kolozsi
The Mondavi Center explores the full range of the performing arts, from the traditional to the innovative and from diverse cultures and disciplines through presentation, education, public service and research. As part of the UC Davis mission as a land grant university, the Mondavi Center provides outstanding cultural programming, support for the university’s academic departments and a professional laboratory to train students in the performing arts. Mondavi Center is committed to maintaining state-of-the art, world-class performance facilities and providing the highest quality experience for both artists and audiences. Personally we can’t wait to see Chris Isaak and Elvis Costello!