© Robert Canfield
© Robert Canfield
© Robert Canfield

Mexican Heritage Plaza, School of Arts and Culture

San Jose, California

The Mexican Heritage Plaza was conceived and dedicated as an educational, live performance and demonstration garden for the Hispanic community of Silicon Valley. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, whose work in downtown San Jose venues was well known in the community, was charged with providing facilities of similar technical accommodation so that the Mexican Heritage Plaza community of users would gain valuable experience producing live events in a professional facility. Upon funding for construction, the firm collaborated on the design of the 500-seat multi-use theatre, a multi-purpose performance/rehearsal space, and associated support facilities and arts classrooms.

The theatre services the performing arts component of a larger community arts center, administered by the Mexican Heritage Corporation. This unique institution provides incubator space for several arts groups selected annually by application as grantees. The theatre is specifically configured to accommodate traditional western music, dance, and drama but also has a flexible forestage area allowing indigenous performance genres from Mexico and Central America represented by local groups including mariachis, Aztecas, and folkloric dancers.

Architect: Del Campo & Maru
Cost: $12,000,000
Completion: 1997