Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Theater, Beverly Hills Post Office Building
Wallis Annenberg Center Performing Arts
Beverly Hills Building, Los Angeles, California, USA – design by Studio Pali Fekete architects
page updated 15 Oct 2016 with new images ; 1 Oct 2014
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Beverly Hills
Design: Studio Pali Fekete architects
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
THE WALLIS ANNENBERG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, BY STUDIO PALI FEKETE ARCHITECTS, RECOGNIZED WITH A REHABILITATION AWARD AT THE 31ST ANNUAL CALIFORNIA PRESERVATION DESIGN AWARDS CEREMONY.
CULVER CITY, CA, September 30, 2014 – Studio Pali Fekete architects [SPF:a] have received an award in recognition of their design for the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the former Beverly Hills Post Office and the creation of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (“the Wallis”). The California Preservation Design Awards are a state-wide program organized by the California Preservation Foundation to recognize exemplary design work in the realm of historic buildings.
Photographs: John Edward Linden Photography
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.
Jerry Magnin, Chairman of the Board of The Wallis, says “Zoltan and his team beautifully transformed the historic Beverly Hills Post Office into the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, creating not only a visually stunning and state-of-the-art complex, but a conversation between the two buildings that has already given us the reputation as an architectural destination.”
The new Goldsmith Theater is housed in a building that is distinctly contemporary and unique 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.”
Judit Meda Fekete, President and CEO of SPF:a, says, “Over the past 25 years, Studio Pali Fekete have been fortunate to work on a number of historic structures in Los Angeles; the Wallis is a direct reflection of our historic preservation expertise with influences from our contemporary works. Our approach is always to understand and celebrate the way that buildings come together- we see ourselves very much as ‘makers’ as well as ‘designers’- and this fundamental approach to the craft of building has helped us greatly in navigating the rehabilitation of historic structures such as the Beverly Hills Post Office, just as it does when we design a modern house or museum.”
About Studio Pali Fekete architects [SPF:a]
Founded in 1988, Studio Pali Fekete architects (www.spfa.com) is a Culver City based multi-disciplinary architecture firm. Renowned for their award-winning team and highly sophisticated technical workshop, the studio’s projects range in size and scope from custom residences to large-scale institutional and commercial projects. The studio prides itself on a high level of hands-on principal to client involvement and is driven by their belief that architecture is a worthwhile and basic human act that has the potential to transform our world into a better place. The studio’s approach adheres to the tenets that constant ingenuity and inventiveness – grounded in knowledge and admiration for the tried and true – are the hallmarks of excellent and elegant architecture.
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts images / information from SPF:a
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