The Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center won silver in Los Angeles Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Awards, recognized and honored as this year’s outstanding project in the Community Impact category. Read more about the project below and see the full Los Angeles Business Journal awards feature here to learn more about how this project and the other winners have enhanced the fabric of Los Angeles.

Adaptively reusing and adding on to a 56-year-old temple on the Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services campus, this transformative project brought to life the Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center, a multi-use 300-seat performing arts center that accommodates a variety of programming including dance, music, teaching, and theatrical productions and establishes a home for Vista’s therapeutic performing arts programs.

Designed for children with learning challenges, the spaces are both inspiring and comforting, with a color palette of light tones and high acoustical performance. The center’s flexible rooms are designed to inspire creative learning models; new production support areas and accessory spaces eliminate the traditional classroom and can be used for multiple purposes—rooms may be a classroom by morning, rehearsal space by day and green room by evening.

The polycarbonate façade is a sustainable material that provides natural light and a glowing center to campus. Rhythmic columns (consisting of drywall columns and LED lights) layered behind the polycarbonate create visual effects of vertical light and shadows; this concept drew inspiration from “Lamentation,” the Martha Graham dance piece in which a dancer struggles within a garment, and acts as a metaphor for the struggles many students with Autism go through every day.

A state-of-the-art performing arts center, there is a high-performance acoustic ceiling throughout the building and modern audio-visual set-up with user-friendly controls.

The Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center is a place that educates, entertains, and heals. The space not only provides students of all abilities with a wonderful resource and space for learning and flourishing, but continues to serve as a gathering place for the greater community. Vista children and families will have every opportunity to make the journey from surviving to thriving as they participate in its cutting-edge therapeutic dance, music, theater and other programs. The Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center also provides Los Angeles with a new event venue, designed to draw neighbors to campus by hosting community events.

The Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center was designed and built to become the heart for both the Vista campus and community—enhancing not only the students’ learning experiences, but Vista’s visibility and relationship to the neighborhood.

The primary challenge was to transform an existing temple from the 1960s while conserving as much of the existing structure as possible—preserving the temple while also completely revitalizing it. By utilizing 4,7000 square feet of the existing building and adding 5,850 square feet of new L-shaped addition, the team strategically and efficiently created the multi-use performing arts center. The addition allowed for the 300-seat theater—absolutely essential to the performing arts center. To maximize each square foot of the building, flexible rooms provide the opportunity to easily transform a space from a classroom to a rehearsal space to a green room. This was key to the functionality of the performing arts center.

One of Los Angeles’ largest installations of polycarbonate panels in an education/cultural building, with 160 panels (2,900 square feet) of polycarbonate, the Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center’s façade is both sustainable and visually brilliant. AUX Architecture spent months researching different types of polycarbonate to find the right combination of light transmission, insulation, affordability and durability despite few examples in cultural buildings in the western U.S. The panels are each 20 inches wide, and range in height from 3 feet to 15 feet tall, so to install the polycarbonate, the team at Shawmut Design and Construction used a boom lift to install all 160 panels one at a time. To illuminate the polycarbonate panels, the Shawmut team installed a linear light fixture that’s flush with the interior drywall.

The performing arts center utilized 4,700 square feet of an existing building, which reduced the carbon footprint by approximately 100 metric tons of embodied CO2 (per Construction Carbon Calculator). The existing building was then “wrapped” by an L-shaped addition that not only architecturally transformed the building, but stabilized and insulated it. The building harnesses natural light through large assemblies of polycarbonate—natural daylight transmission with this material is 68%, reducing the electrical use, associated energy costs, and emissions. Recyclable and modular materials minimize waste—the new façade is a modular polycarbonate skin that is 100% recyclable material made of 35% recycled plastic, allowing for daylighting to all accessory spaces and classrooms; this material is more economic and sustainable than most glass.

More sustainable features include:

  • High efficiency exterior window assemblies
  • High albedo roof
  • Building is designed to meet Cal Green requirements
  • Water efficient landscape
  • Permeable hardscape
  • Integrated LED-based lighting system
  • Infrastructure for future photovoltaic panels
  • Biofiltration planters for stormwater pollution control
  • Low-flow water fixtures
  • Drought tolerant landscaping