California State University, Northridge Valley Performing Arts Center

The medium of landscape architecture: topography and vegetation were used to create a comfortable microclimate for University students and patrons of the Valley Performing Arts Center in a semi-arid area of Southern California. Outdoor spaces were created to foster socializing for small and large groups and reflect the theatrical qualities of a sustainable landscape that utilizes technology, collaboration and durable, low maintenance materials.

This project sets a new standard for University projects in its success as a sustainable, habitable, inviting landscape. Functioning during the day as a space for the students and at night for theater patrons, the spaces lend themselves to the variety of needs of these two groups. Simple in its design and concept, the spaces flow seamlessly from one end of the site to the other, creating the desired effect of knitting the project into the fabric of the campus. In an area known locally as a ‘cultural desert’, the new Performing Arts Center has put this suburb on the cultural map.