Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services (Vista) is now home to the Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center, a major transformation project that creates a multi-use 300-seat performing arts center, accommodating a variety of programming including dance, music, teaching, and theatrical productions and establishes a home for Vista’s therapeutic performing arts programs. The building was designed by AUX Architecture, who were selected via private competition, and built by Shawmut Design and Construction, a leading $1.5 billion national construction management firm.
“Designed to express music and dance, our goal was to support Vista Del Mar programming while creating a transformative project for the campus as it evolves,” says Brian Wickersham, founding partner and design director at AUX Architecture. “We created a new gathering space, not just for Vista, but for the Los Angeles community, and by wrapping the existing building in translucent polycarbonate, we preserved the campus’ temple while also completely revitalizing it.”
“Our hope is for the Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center to become the heart for both the campus and community by enhancing not only the students’ learning experiences but Vista’s visibility and relationship to this neighborhood.”
Utilizing a 100% recyclable polycarbonate material serves to both provide a high level of durability and sustainability while also harnessing natural light and insulating the building. It is one of the largest installations of this kind of polycarbonate on a cultural building in southern California. In addition, the illuminated design draws neighbors to campus when hosting community events and showcases the non-profit’s mission to empower regional youth and families.
“As a company, we build spaces that educate, entertain, and heal—and the new Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center accomplishes all of that,” said Greg Skalaski, executive vice president, West region of Shawmut Design and Construction. “The space not only provides students of all abilities with a wonderful resource and space for learning and flourishing, but continues to serve as a gathering place for the greater community.”
Directly behind the façade, a series of rhythmic columns create an interplay of light and shadow. One inspiration for the screens both inside and out was Martha Graham’s dance piece “Lamentation” that honors the sensations of compression and expansion that many kids with learning, autism, and behavioral challenges experience. The design conveys a supportive sensory environment for students who will now learn, meet, perform, be entertained and worship in this newly transformed building. Every space was thoroughly considered by a team of designers and educators to ensure the interiors, now infused with light, expanded in size, and reconfigured, are both inspiring and comforting. Important design elements include a color palette of light tones, high acoustical performance, and flexible rooms to inspire creative learning models. New square footage for accessory spaces includes production support areas, rehearsal spaces, stage craft, dressing, and classroom spaces. The renovation adds 5,850 square feet for a total building area of 10,550 square feet.
“As our community contends with the pandemic, we’re reminded of the enduring power of the arts to console, heal, create community and uplift lives,” states Craig Prizant, Vista Del Mar Chief Development and Marketing Officer. “In our brand-new performing arts center, Vista children and families will have every opportunity to make the journey from surviving to thriving as they participate in our cutting-edge therapeutic dance, music, theater and other programs. We’re so grateful to visionary philanthropist Glorya Kaufman for investing in our children’s
futures. AUX has innovated the perfect space in which Vista families and the greater community will find joy as they root and rise by opening their minds and hearts.”
This project was made possible by a generous gift by Glorya Kaufman, whose contributions to the arts have benefited so many and will continue to do so for future generations.
About Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services has cared for Los Angeles’ most vulnerable children for over 100 years, providing a range of exceptional programs in education, mental health, autism, adoption, residential care, prevention and early intervention. Vista’s programs are for children with social, emotional and behavioral challenges, wrapping love and support around the entire family and is today Los Angeles’ most prominent resource for children of the Autism Spectrum. Vista Del Mar is a national role model in providing these specialized services and therapeutic treatment for children and is a Four Star Charity Navigator rated organization. Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services
About the Glorya Kaufman Dance Foundation
In 2008, Ms. Glorya Kaufman established The Glorya Kaufman Dance Foundation, an organization rooted in her love for dance and her belief that dance is restorative to the mind, body and spirit of people. The mission of the Glorya Kaufman Dance Foundation is to ensure that future generations will be able to experience the joy of dancing, and to improve quality of life for individuals through movement and wellness. Glorya Kaufman Dance Foundation
About Shawmut Design and Construction
Shawmut Design and Construction is a $1.5 billion national construction management firm with a reputation for completing extremely complex and logistically challenging projects for the most high-profile clients in the industry. As an ESOP (employee-owned) company, Shawmut has created a culture of ownership, proactive solution-making, and forward thinking. Eighty percent of its business comes from repeat clients, proving there is a strong focus on building lasting partnerships. Shawmut has offices located in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, and Irvine, CA. For more information, please visit www.shawmut.com.
About AUX Architecture
Founded in 2008, AUX Architecture creates spaces that feel good. Led by Brian Wickersham, the Los Angeles-based practice brings craft and clarity to designs at every scale—from hearth to urban realm. Collaboration is the soul of the studio. AUX’s 30-person team of architects and designers works closely with clients to produce sophisticated environments ranging from single and multifamily residential homes to commercial and cultural buildings. Functionality, sustainability, and beautiful materials are hallmarks of the practice’s skillful architecture. Each process-focused project combines passion with technical expertise. AUX’s international portfolio has received multiple awards from the AIA Los Angeles and AIA San Fernando Valley, and has been featured in Dwell, Flaunt, Los Angeles Times, Harmonies Magazine, and on Bravo TV. AUX Architecture
For more information, please visit AUXArchitecture.com – GKPAC and Vistadelmar.org – GKPAC.
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