On July 14, Los Angeles County will conduct a dedication and open house for its 1,200-seat John Anson Ford Theater, the 97-year-old outdoor performance center nestled in the Hollywood Hills that has received a $72.2 million facelift, which took more than four years to complete.
Two of the three construction phases for this project were completed a year ago, including the restoration of the Ford Amphitheater stage with a Brazilian walnut Ipe hardwood deck. The theater is adjacent to a 32-acre park, whose hillside sloping was stabilized with retaining walls and other erosion-control measures.
Artist support spaces have been expanded, and new theatrical and AV infrastructure was installed, including the creation of a sound wall that encompasses a projection booth and control room, catwalks, and an upgraded lighting platform. A sound barrier will help muffle vehicular noise coming from the nearby Highway 101.
The outdoor theater is located in the hills of Cahuenga Pass, surrounded by a 32-acre park whose landscaping was stabilized and upgraded as part of the renovation. Image: Tom Bonner
In addition, a new three-story structure with a full-service loading dock below and offices above was constructed. An 87-seat black box theater, [Inside] the Ford, was repurposed as a 580-sf self-serve food marketplace and community room. All told the renovation and restoration added 3,500 sf of “found space” from bedrock under the stage, and a 2,315-sq picnic terrace that can seat up to 110. (Crumble Catering is the marketplace partner.)
The John Anson Ford Amphitheater has always been a less-conspicuous, littler cousin to the more-famous, 17,500-seat Hollywood Bowl.
Among the refurbishings of John Anson Ford Amphitheater is the installation of a new Ipe hardware deck for the stage. Image: Tom Bonner
Opened in 1920, the amphitheater was designed, somewhat bizarrely, to resemble the gates of ancient Jerusalem. Christine Wetherill Stevenson, heiress to the Pittsburgh Paint fortune and a playwright, was instrumental in securing the land and building for the original theater, which staged her drama “The Pilgrimage Play.”
In 1976, the theater was renamed in honor of John Anson Ford, and L.A. County supervisor who founded the L.A. County Arts Commission. (The county owns the theater.)
The Building Team for the renovation and restoration included Levin & Associates Architects (design architect), Pankow Builders (construction services), Cumming Construction Management (project manager), Structural Focus (SE), Lucci & Associates (EE), The Sullivan Partnership (M/P engineer), Mollenhauer Group (CE, Survey), McKay Conant Hoover (acoustical and AV engineer), Wiss Janney Elstner Associates (material conservation), Mia Lehrer + Associates (landscape architect), Horton Lees Brogden (lighting design), Leighton (geotechnical), Sussman Prejza & Company (signage), and Theatre Projects (theatrical).
Museums | Jun 6, 2023
New wing of Natural History Museums of Los Angeles to be a destination and portal
NHM Commons, a new wing and community hub under construction at The Natural History Museums (NHM) of Los Angeles County, was designed to be both a destination and a portal into the building and to the surrounding grounds.
Performing Arts Centers | Jun 6, 2023
Mumbai, India’s new Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre has three performing arts venues
In Mumbai, India, the recently completed Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) will showcase music, theater, and fine arts from India and from across the globe. Atlanta’s TVS Design served as the principal architect and interior designer of both the cultural center and the larger, adjacent Jio World Centre.
Architects | Jun 6, 2023
Taking storytelling to a new level in building design, with Gensler's Bob Weis and Andy Cohen
Bob Weis, formerly the head of Disney Imagineering, was recently hired by Gensler as its Global Immersive Experience Design Leader. He joins the firm's co-CEO Andy Cohen to discuss how Gensler will focus on storytelling to connect people to its projects.
Performing Arts Centers | Mar 9, 2023
Two performing arts centers expand New York’s cultural cachet
A performing arts center under construction and the adaptive reuse for another center emphasize flexibility.
Virtual Reality | Feb 27, 2023
Surfing the Metaversity: The future of online learning?
SmithGroup's tour of the Metaversity gives us insight on bringing together physical and virtual campuses to create a cohesive institution.
Arenas | Feb 14, 2023
A new communications platform aims to help sports and entertainment venues operate greener
GOAL (for Green Operations and Advanced Leadership) will give operators ways to gauge their sustainability journeys.
Giants 400 | Feb 9, 2023
New Giants 400 download: Get the complete at-a-glance 2022 Giants 400 rankings in Excel
See how your architecture, engineering, or construction firm stacks up against the nation's AEC Giants. For more than 45 years, the editors of Building Design+Construction have surveyed the largest AEC firms in the U.S./Canada to create the annual Giants 400 report. This year, a record 519 firms participated in the Giants 400 report. The final report includes 137 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories.
Giants 400 | Feb 6, 2023
2022 Reconstruction Sector Giants: Top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. building reconstruction and renovation sector
Gensler, Stantec, IPS, Alfa Tech, STO Building Group, and Turner Construction top BD+C's rankings of the nation's largest reconstruction sector architecture, engineering, and construction firms, as reported in the 2022 Giants 400 Report.
Giants 400 | Feb 1, 2023
2022 Cultural Facilities Giants: Top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. cultural facilities sector
Populous, DLR Group, KPFF, Arup, and Turner Construction head BD+C's rankings of the nation's largest cultural facilities sector architecture, engineering, and construction firms, as reported in the 2022 Giants 400 Report. Building types include museums, public libraries, performing arts centers, and concert venues.
Performing Arts Centers | Dec 23, 2022
Diller Scofidio + Renfro's renovation of Dallas theater to be ‘faithful reinterpretation’ of Frank Lloyd Wright design
Diller Scofidio + Renfro recently presented plans to restore the Kalita Humphreys Theater at the Dallas Theater Center (DTC) in Dallas. Originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this theater is the only freestanding theater in Wright’s body of work.