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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center in Menlo Park by Hodgetts + Fung

December 22nd, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Hodgetts + Fung

A single, folded roof plane encloses this $32 million theater complex. Surrounded by the semi-rustic environment of Menlo Park, with a mission to bring both music and drama to the community, the project is the result of a two-stage national competition conducted by the Sequoia School District.

Image Courtesy © Hodgetts + Fung

  • Architects: Hodgetts + Fung
  • Project: Menlo-Atherton Performing Arts Center
  • Location: Menlo Park, U.S.A

Image Courtesy © Hodgetts + Fung

Featuring broad, overhanging eaves designed to complement the surrounding low-slung classroom buildings, and monumental structural trees which echo the entry grove of historic oaks, the building is configured to serve both a formal, regional audience, and a more casual group of parents and students.Within the theater, digitally processed luminous screens evoke foliage and serve to modulate acoustics according to the needs of the performer. The 500 seat theater is supported by band and individual practice rooms, a multipurpose meeting room, a scenic shop, and other typical, back of house, amenities.

Image Courtesy © Hodgetts + Fung


The design for the performing arts center and surrounding complex focuses on the relationship to the low profile surrounding building and the clutter of heritage oak trees. To augment the trees, the proposal includes a courtyard and broad central promenade, which gracefully sweeps from the campus entry to the angled white performing arts center. Poised at the promenade’s end, the building will gently hover over the landscape, providing a dynamic visual centerpiece to the campus. Visible from public roadways that run along the campus, the center will foster a distinct separate identity for the school.

Image Courtesy © Hodgetts + Fung


The interior of the center will provide flexible space to accommodate both school performances and community use. To provide a sense of intimacy for smaller audiences, the auditorium will feature architecturally integrated devices that reduce the proscenium width. Rich, durable materials—such as plywood paneling, architectural concrete, upholstered seating, and wood flooring—will be employed to form the public spaces in the lobby and theatre. The back-of-house functions (loading, stagecraft, and fly loft) will be designed with robust materials and finishes. A split-level circulation plan for the surrounding grounds will allow a single access path to all school facilities.

Image Courtesy © Hodgetts + Fung


The preservation and enhancement of the existing landscape plays an important role in the design. A series of “porches” on the southern edge of the courtyard will be designed in response to the campus’ existing arcades, creating numerous shaded spaces where students, faculty, and visitors can gather and converse. A low-maintenance, ecologically-friendly landscaping program will be designed, featuring a lush blend of white diatomaceous earth, drought-tolerant plantings, and hardscape grounds. Along Middlefield Road, an earth berm border provide security to the campus, and pathways with raised, unobtrusive gates will provide further security at entry points on both ends of the performing arts center. The perimeter will be accented with fencing, climbing roses, and bougainvillea.

Image Courtesy © Hodgetts + Fung

Image Courtesy © Hodgetts + Fung

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Categories: Art Center, Performing Arts Center

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