In 1997, Boora and the University of California, Davis embarked on a collaborative planning and design initiative for a new campus entry precinct anchored by the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, an 1,800-seat multipurpose performing arts venue serving the Sacramento Valley. The scope of the planning effort included the arts center along with an entry drive, a one-acre park, landscaped open space, a 722-car parking garage, and a 900-car parking lot. In conjunction with the entry precinct plan, Boora programmed, planned, and designed the Mondavi Center for the Arts. The stakeholder group included university administration, the campus arts presenters, academic faculty, and regional ensembles.
Featuring world-class acoustics, the 1,800-seat Jackson Hall was designed primarily for symphonic orchestra and choral singing. However, the venue boasts one of the most advanced multipurpose designs of any performance hall in the United States.
The center is also one of the most sustainable performance halls in the county. In addition to daylighting, high albedo surfaces, a stone skin for thermal lag, and an underfloor displacement ventilation system, the center uses century-old Douglas fir for acoustical paneling. Lost during 19th century timber operations, the trees from which these boards were sourced stayed preserved at the bottom of Ruby Lake in Vancouver, British Columbia, until they were salvaged in the 1990s for re-use.
Jackson Hall's variable acoustic elements allow it to be reconfigured to accommodate drama, musical theater, opera, dance, and convocation. Of Jackson Hall, San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas said on opening night "You have a fine instrument here -- we would like to come back!"
Housed upstage, a demountable orchestra shell allows the hall to be easily and quickly converted from a theatrical venue with a full-height fly tower to a concert hall. Positioned at the rear of ths stage apron, the orchestra shell advances the performers beyond the proscenium, putting musician and audience member effectively in the same room.
Like Jackson Hall, the Mondavi Center's studio theater can accommodate a wide range of events and performances. Through the deployment of extensive multipurpose systems, these events can include rehearsals, banquets, cabaret functions, lectures, recitals, and black box theatrical performances. A 40-foot-wide operable window wall connects the space to the Davis arboretum visually and spatially. When the window wall is open, performances and receptions can spill outdoors.
The Mondavi Center's grand lobby serves both Jackson Hall and the Studio Theater with state-of-the-art patron amenities. Students and community members alike use the space for rehearsals and events. The lobby's extensive use of glass offers dramatic views of the outdoors while allowing natural light to suffuse the space. For guests viewing the center from the outdoors or approaching campus from the regional I-80 freeway, the tall, transparent curtain wall projects the energy of the performance-going experience.
Like a porch sheltered by a sunshade, the Mondavi Center's front elevation features a soaring canopy that not only protects the lobby from glare and heat gain. It also protects the space at the building's main entry so that it can be used as a performance space with proper control over outdoor ambient light.
Throughout the design process, Boora produces communications tools with the intent for our clients to repurpose them for fundraising. In the case of the Mondavi Center, several watercolor views of the building and a scale model in Basswood were delivered to the university's chancellor for his development work. They helped to secure a $5 million gift for Jackson Hall from Barbara K. Jackson and a $10 million gift for the entire center from Robert and Margrit Mondavi.
The master plan for the new entry precinct envisioned the phased completion of buildings and roadway realignments that together will create a memorable campus arrival sequence. A performing arts center, a food and wine institute, and a planned visual art gallery symbolically declare the new UC Davis, a top-20 research institution offering a balance of technical and humanistic offerings where the world's leading thinkers -- whether scientific or artistic -- shall convene.
Other arts centers
BodyVox Center for Dance
Collin County Center for the Arts
Mesa Arts Center
Northwest Museum of Art and Culture
Pomona College Seaver Theater
Portland Center for the Performing Arts
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art Temporary Theater
Scripps College Music Building & Performing Arts Center
University of New Mexico Fine Arts Center
UT Austin Bass Performance Hall
UT Permian Basin Wager-Noel Performing Arts Center
Other university buildings
Earlham College Fine Arts Center Study
George Fox University Stevens Student Center
Linfield College Campus Master Plan
Linfield College Nicholson Library Adaptive Reuse
Linfield College Miller Fine Arts Center
Linfield College Bull Center for Music
Northern Arizona University College of Business Administration
Old Dominion University Diehn II Music Building and Monarch Theater
Pomona College Arts Facilities Master Plan
Pomona College Byron Seaver Teaching Theater
Portland State University Lincoln Hall Renovation
Stanford University Science and Engineering Quad Master Plan and Design Guidelines
Stanford University Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building
Stanford University Jen-Hsun Huang School of Engineering Center
Stanford University Nanoscience and Technology Building
Stanford University Graduate School of Business
University of Alaska, Southeast Egan Library
University of California, Santa Cruz Arts Facilities Improvements
University of California, Santa Cruz McHenry Library
University of California, Santa Cruz Digital Arts Facility Programming Study
University of Oregon School of Music + Dance
"A performing arts center raises the bar on flexibility and sustainability" (Building Types Study), October, 2003
"California's New Stage," October, 2002
Los Angeles Times
"The Mondavis Toast the Arts: A $10-million gift helped build UC Davis venue," October 9, 2002
New York Times
"Near Sacramento, Finally, a Big-City Arts Center," October 13, 2002
"Flexible, Adaptable, Green: Mondavi Center all about sound thinking," Otober 3, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
"Mondavi Gala is Just the Beginning," August, 2002
"Mondavi's New Release," October, 2002
Wall Street Journal
"Tonight, the Concert Hall Takes Center Stage," October 3, 2002
American Insitute of Architects (Portland Chapter)
Honor Award, 2003
People's Choice Award, 2003
American Insitute of Architects (Pacific Region)
Award of Merit, 2004
International Interior Design Association (Portland Chapter)
Honor Award, 2003