© Nick Merrick / Hedrich Blessing
© Nick Merrick / Hedrich Blessing
© Nick Merrick / Hedrich Blessing

Soka University of America, Performing Arts Center and Black Box Theatre

Aliso Viejo, California

Providing exceptional intimacy and aural quality in an elegant and easy to operate facility, the Soka Performing Arts Center was designed as a flexible space to accommodate multiple seating and stage configurations for events varying from concerts to convocations. To support the technical needs of the different performance types within the Center, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander incorporated motorized lifts, seating wagons which track and store under the fixed surround side seating, a system of easily accessible lighting catwalks and a unique two-tiered rigging and lighting grid into the architectural and acoustic environment of the room. An extensive motorized and computer controlled variable acoustics system provide adjustment of the acoustic character of the room.

The firm collaborated on the development and programming for all performance and support spaces, providing theatre consulting services from conceptual design to the detail design of theatrical systems. This includes the technically-advanced Black Box Theatre, which serves as a studio classroom and is designed with three pre-set stage/seating configurations for maximum flexibility and experimentation.

Soka University of America Performing Arts Center is LEED Gold. There are green roofs on both the Performing Arts Center and the Black Box Theatre portion of the academic building, and photovoltaic cells on the Performing Arts Center that help power 15% of the structures’ electricity, including the performance lighting systems.

Architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership
Acoustics: Nagata Acoustics America, Inc.
Size: 47,836 SF Performing Arts Center building
Cost: $58,000,000
Completion: 2010