Metal Architecture Home

Museums, Libraries and Cultural Centers

Pacific Amphitheatre, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Photo: John Linden

The Pacific Amphitheatre is an 8,000-seat outdoor performance area at the OC Fair and Event Center. A redesign by MAKE Architecture integrates the amphitheater with the rest of the fairgrounds, providing a convenient and immersive atmosphere for visitors.

Competed in 2016, the project connects the amphitheater through a 32,500-square-foot plaza and entryway. The entrance pavilion is an acoustical vestibule that mitigates sound, protecting local residents from unwanted noise, while allowing visitors to experience live performances.

The entryway's intricate façade is the focal point of the redesign, with MAKE Architecture capturing elements of live performances and incorporating them to form a seamless and symbolic, physical connection to the amphitheater. To achieve this, the firm designed the façade using a series of cross-sectional panels with diamond-shaped negative spaces that dissipate as they progress from top to bottom. The flowing diagrid pattern is reminiscent of a stage curtain lifting. It also folds horizontally to form the ceiling, with the diagrid pattern continuing to evolve as it extends toward the amphitheater, similar to an inverted red carpet.

The firm collaborated with CRL-U. S. Aluminum to engineer and fabricate the façade, which is made up of 2,500 square feet of CRL-U.S. Aluminum's 11-gauge Wet Joint Ultra custom aluminum panel system in Pearl White.

Working together allowed the two companies to ensure all objectives were achieved, including the visually permeable façade's elaborate details that wrap around and integrate with the adjacent window systems. Taking this into account, CRL-U.S. Aluminum engineers used in-house 3-D modeling capabilities to develop accurate models and produce shop drawings to illustrate how the aluminum panels interface with the surrounding construction.