- Interior Designer : Catherine Holliss
- Project Associate : Adam Licht
- Pre Engineered Metal Building : CBC Steel Buildings, Facility Builders & Erectors, Eloy Ortiz
- Theater : Robert Young, Arup
- Client : Idyllwild Arts Foundation, John Newman, Laura Sherman
- Architect In Charge : Whitney Sander
- City : Idyllwild-Pine Cove
- Country : United States
Text description provided by the architects. The design for the William M. Lowman Concert Hall grew from the desire of the client to create a concert hall worthy of the talents of the students at the school, Idyllwild Arts—one of the country’s top three High Schools for the Arts. The student body draws from dozens of countries and students go on to every major orchestra, school and program in the world. Sander Architects proposed a site at the heart of campus to repurpose an unsightly parking lot, thereby creating a central campus quad and gathering space for the school community.
This project uses Sander Architects’ Hybrid Construction, a type of construction conceived by the firm that combines a prefabricated structural system with custom design. By using prefabricated metal frames to build the most expensive structural components at a fraction of typical costs, the client’s budget can go much further. Since the light-gauge steel building typically spans dozens or hundreds of feet, it was perfectly suited for this application. Other components, such as the building skin, finishes, and layout of spaces are custom designed.
The Concert Hall is sheathed in rusted Cor-Ten panels. The panels have an irregular topography derived from an abstracted musical phrase. This skin alludes to the music within the hall and to the landscape of folded rock and granite that makes up the surrounding mountains. It also blends harmoniously with other buildings on campus
The entrance lobby to the hall has soaring ceilings from which hang dozens of white globe lights. They create a celestial effect and have a subtle dance as they move in cross breezes created when the sliding glass doors open the front corner of the space.
From the start, Sander Architects collaborated with the acousticians to maximize the acoustical brilliance of the hall. Architect Whitney Sander was inspired by the forest of trees surrounding the campus and the manner in which they all reach for the sky, for the light, and yet each one grows slightly off vertical. He designed the 4 x 8 wood ribs, that arch up the sides and across the ceiling of the hall, to evoke these trees—and this erratic pattern was perfect to scatter sound and create cleaner acoustics for the performers.
The stage is able to accommodate a full symphony orchestra and chorus, as well as jazz concerts and chamber music performances. The hall seats 298 audience members and includes a lobby, restrooms, green room, mechanical space and musical instrument storage space.
Product Description. One of the project’s principal materials is its pre-engineered metal building frame. These frames, which are made of light-gauge steel, are typically used in warehouse construction and can be produced at a fraction of the cost of typical steel framing. They can also accommodate large spans, allowing Sander Architects great flexibility to create a custom design within and around them, as seen in the William M. Lowman Concert Hall. This system has been so useful in the firm’s various projects that they have coined the description “part pre-fab, all custom™” to describe their hybrid construction work.