The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
by Damian Doria | November 16, 2010
When I first visited the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in 1998 with the assignment to help them determine the program and conceptual plan for a new concert hall facility, it was immediately apparent how extraordinary an arts center and community existed in Costa Mesa. From the members of the Board through the most junior people on the staff the Center was organized and focused on presenting a full spectrum of world class arts programming to a community that was both well educated in the arts and engaged in the day-to-day operations of the Center. Over a week of interviews and planning meetings with staff, resident companies and community representatives we gathered more data and direction than many projects have before they’re well into later design phases. This strong, clear foundation for project development gave us the tools to address budget and site constraints that might have substantially delayed or derailed other projects.
The close relationship I developed with Cesar Pelli and his excellent staff during our work together in Miami made the exploration of some variations on Artec’s previous concert hall design concepts possible -- secondary acoustic volumes that are split into four sub-volumes instead of the usual one or two, an acoustic canopy that is curvaceous in shape and relates to the design of the organ facade, and flexible staging and risers that incorporate more lifts than any of our halls except the concert hall in Lucerne. The resulting space and its acoustics are impossible to experience in one visit, and keeps the Center’s audience interested in seeing and hearing the hall in its many settings. The expansion of programming in the Center and the caliber of artists on their schedule are testimony to its success, and we expect it be among our best halls for many years to come.