Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

By Kirsten Kiser

Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
 

The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Hall, home of the Pacific Symphony, is an elegant and vibrant sculptural form that glows in the southern Californian light.

On the south, east and west sides the building is seen as a composition of solid forms clad in Portuguese limestone.

The undulating glass curtain wall on the north side of the building, naturally protected from the rays of the sun, creates an ever-changing composition of reflections, transparencies, and highlights.

The undulations of the walls reflect for me a number of things: the waves of the Pacific Ocean as well as the waves of sound that will be emanating from the performers.
— Cesar Pelli

The multi-level grand foyer with its circular marble staircase and curved upper-level balconies echoes the curves of the facade.

300 stainless steel pendants with Baccarat crystal lights are suspended from the circular silver-leaf ceiling.

The 2,000-seat concert hall, paneled in blond maple wood, features some of the most advanced acoustical engineering, with three adjustable canopies, finished in five-star silver leaf above the performance platform, and sound chambers in surrounding walls.

The C.B. Fisk concert pipe organ dominates the far wall. The pipes and organ compartment are silver-leafed and provide a fluid impression of upward flow to the canopies.

The building also houses rehearsal rooms, including a dedicated space for the resident Pacific Symphony Orchestra, kitchen and dining facilities, a centralized box office, administrative offices, VIP suites, and public and performer support areas.

The Concert Hall is organized around a large Plaza of the Arts with a 60-plus-feet-tall Richard Serra sculpture commissioned as the centerpiece. The sculpture is constructed of five torqued waterproof steel plates set on a pentagonal ground plan.

The Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is named in honor of philanthropist, entrepreneur and arts patron Henry Segerstrom, and his late wife Renée.

The 500-seat Samueli Theatre has its own entrance with large frosted-glass panels mounted on the limestone facade, creating a dramatic marquee.

The interior, paneled in wood veneer, is reminiscent of intimate Broadway theaters. Pendant-style lighting fixtures suspended from the ceiling culminate in Murano-glass, egg-drop-shaped globes.

Pelli’s first commission for C.J. Segerstrom & Sons was the adjacent Plaza Tower, a 21-story stainless-steel landmark.

Country and City

Costa Mesa

Architect

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Landscape architect

Peter Walker & Partners

Built

2006