Mondavi Center for the Performing
Arts - Davis, California
Robert and Margrit Mondavi
Center for the Performing Arts, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616.
Phone: 866.757.ARTS MondaviArts.org The sculpture pictured, See No
Evil - Hear No Evil, is one of five 'eggheads' at the UC Davis
campus, by the late Robert Arneson.
Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at the
University of California Davis was completed in September 2002 on the
largest of the 10 University of California campuses, with 5,200 acres.
Located on the campus's southern boundary near Interstate 80, the
104,000-square-foot performing arts center includes an 1,800-seat
Jackson Hall and a 250-seat studio theater. The center presents music,
dance, lectures and theater productions and includes state-of-the art
acoustics and air systems.
The $60.9 million project — $53.5 million
for construction and $7.4 million is available for use by campus
academic programs, regional arts organizations and professional artists
booked through UC Davis Presents. Combined with the Robert Mondavi
Institute for Wine and Food Science and the Buehler Alumni and Visitors
Center, the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
includes an easily accessible public entry to the campus and conference
facilities with a ballroom and meeting space for 500, a hotel with 75
guest rooms, a restaurant, pub and a visual arts center.
Robert Mondavi is internationally known for development of the
California wine industry. In 1966, he, his elder son, R. Michael Mondavi,
Robert's wife, Magrit, and family founded the Robert Mondavi Winery in
the Napa Valley with the goal of producing wines that would rival the
finest wines of Europe. These founders and major benefactors were
also instrumental in the building and funding of COPIA: The American
Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, a world-class center celebrating the
bounty of the American table. Robert and Margrit additionally helped in
restoration of the 19th-century Napa Valley Opera House and the Oxbow
School, a new art school in Napa that provides grants and instruction to
art students in their junior year of high school. They have contributed
to the restoration of the Lincoln Theatre in Yountville, Calif., and
have supported the Cantor Art Center at Stanford University in Palo
Getting there: From I-80 West (from Sacramento), take the UC
Davis/Mondavi Center exit. Turn right onto Old Davis Road and continue
north to the parking structure entrance on the right.
Construction: Many products used in construction were made from
natural and/or recycled materials such as Douglas fir that was provided
by Ruby Lake Wood Products, a certified sustainable supplier of recycled
fir salvaged from the bottom of lakes in Canada. Sustainable-growth
bamboo was chosen for the wood flooring system in Jackson Hall and
nontoxic materials with low volatile organic compounds were specified
for paint, wood sealer, and adhesives.
Indian sandstone was
utilized in the building, reflecting the school's agriculture roots and
blending with the surrounding wine land as its coloring reflects the
surrounding environment. Jade White/Gwalior Yellow sandstone, which was
quarried by Tab India Inc. and fabricated in its facilities in Jaipur,
India, is slightly softer than the other varieties of sandstones
available from India, making it an easy material to work with according
to Project Designer Stan Boles of BOORA Architects in Portland, OR. The
stone was selected to fulfill the goal of literally relating to the
land, Boles said. BOORA Architects has over 60 theater designs in its
portfolio, plus the Getty Center.
A total of 90,000 square feet of the sandstone was used in a combination
of both cleft and honed finishes. In addition to exterior stone
finishes, a large wall in the lobby, which runs from the floor to the
ceiling employed stones with a cleft finish, complementing the stone
with glass elements visible in the lobby.
Complementing the warm golden sandstone is Ocean Green quartzitic slate
quarried in India as well. Approximately 15,000 square feet of the
material was employed as exterior and interior paving as well as for
outdoor planters. Just as the sandstone, the slate was used in a
combination of honed and natural finishes.
If the slate's acoustic
properties didn't provide a variety of challenges in installation, the
Mondavi Center building site presented some unique acoustical challenges
as well. The Center is located just several hundred feet from both a
highly-used railway and Interstate 80, which makes for great visibility
and accessibility, but also high levels of noise and ground vibration.
McKay Conant Brook Inc, acoustical
consultant for the Mondavi Center, constructed a box within a box with a
basement under Jackson Hall and a technical attic at the ceiling to
uniquely address noise issues. An elevated basement under the audience
chamber and stage which are both elevated, several feet-thick
walls on the side of the building facing the freeway, and
vibration-dampening piers the building itself stands on all contributed
in reducing and nearly eliminating exterior noise.
As acoustic specifications were successfully met, there also was a need
for a multi-purpose facility to maintain integrity as a performing
environment. The 1,800-seat multi-purpose Jackson Hall theatre utilizes
an adaptable stage area with a massive yet mobile structure called an
Orchestra Enclosure and Canopy. Weighing 54,000 pounds, the structure
can be raised or lowered depending on the size of the ensemble, thus
helping musicians hear each other, while also projecting nearly the full
volume of the performance to the audience chamber.
Jackson Hall also contains large velour
acoustic curtains that can be electronically extended throughout the
audience chamber to create flexible listening environments needed for a
variety of performances. Using lasers to simulate the travel paths of
sound waves from the stage, curtains were so accurately placed in key
parts of the hall that the curtains can effectively be tuned for a
single person, a chamber orchestra or rock band.
This high-tech venue includes a computer system that controls all of the
theatrical machinery and acoustic systems by a single touch-screen panel
on each stage. Over 750 theatrical lighting circuits are also controlled
by the touch monitor as well.
Manpower is still needed in some facility operations, however. Clever
design using air casters or rubber bladders under the Orchestra
Enclosure and Canopy structure literally float it on a cushion of
air so it can be pushed in and out of position for storage when not in
use. The process requires two people pushing and two directing the stage
into its space with the process taking several minutes.
Advance cooling systems use
displacement ventilation that relies on natural convection to lift the
warm, stale air to a higher level. The air above 6 feet is not mixed
with approximately half the heat gain from people and nearly all the
lighting gain rising out of the space before it causes a temperature
gain in the occupied zone. Carbon dioxide sensors further limit
unnecessary heating and cooling of outdoor air and smaller, quieter fans
keep the noise levels down.
Among its elegant design elements, the Mondavi Center main lobby
includes poured concrete trenches that provide an air path serving the
lowest level. Custom displacement diffusers at each of the four floor
levels provide specialized cooling for specific areas. Reducing the need
for cooling, the lobby which is wrapped in glass to provide views to
adjacent parks, is shielded from excessive heat gain by exterior
Passive cooling is achieved through double roof and double wall
construction. Two feet of air space separate the inner and outer walls.
What's next? A $25 million gift from the Mondavi family combined
with campus funds and other private contributions will create
state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities to house the UC Davis
departments of viticulture and enology as well as food science and
technology. Both departments are part of the College of Agricultural and
The institute will include an academic building of approximately 75,000
square feet for classrooms, laboratories, offices and meeting rooms. A
13,000-square-foot plant for food-processing, and a 36,000-square-foot
building for a new campus teaching and research winery, also will be
constructed within the proposed institute. The institute will be
designed to be the global innovator in university-based wine and food
programs and will house the largest and most prestigious wine and food
science academic program in the world.
The educational components associated with the winery, brewery and food
processing plant are expected to draw international
visitors. Current plans call for the Robert Mondavi Institute
to be located on Old Davis Road just west of the Robert and Margrit
Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. The departments of viticulturem
and enology, food science and technology are currently housed in Wickson and Cruess halls, buildings that are nearly 50 years old.