The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts sits at the heart of the new entry precinct for the UC Davis campus. Designed as a sculptural object in the landscape, our goal was to make the Mondavi Center a dramatic beacon. A glass, multi-level lobby and giant trellised canopy with two-story colonnade opens the building to the entry park.
The lobby links a 170-seat studio theater with a 1,800-seat main hall. Adjustable architectural and acoustical elements within the performance spaces allow multiple uses in both halls. Jackson Hall can be configured to accommodate symphonic orchestra and choir, drama, musical theater, opera, dance, and convocation. The studio theater has similar flexibility and is connected to the adjacent arboretum through doors in a 40-foot-wide wall of windows.
The center is one of the most sustainable performance halls in the country. Exterior solar screening protects glazing and shades the lobby porch and pedestrian walkways. We used recycled fir logs recovered from the bottom of Ruby Lake in British Columbia to create the exquisite wall paneling, cabinetry and furniture throughout the facility. A displacement ventilation system under the main hall is highly energy-efficient and quiet. The result is a design that respects the campus’s commitment to the arts, advances its stewardship of the land, and provides a popular forum for campus and community interaction.