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Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center

To Educate, Support and Share

AUX Architecture

Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center
By Caterina Testa -

Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services is a Los Angeles-based foundation that, since it opened its first orphanage in 1908, has evolved into an innovative, cutting-edge leader in services for education, mental health, autism, adoption and early intervention for children. Over the years, the foundation’s campus has developed to serve children and the community. Recently, it has been enhanced with a space to accommodate an innovative performing arts program, hosting dance, music, teaching and theater productions.

Designed by AUX Architecture, the Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center was funded by a donation to the foundation specifically earmarked for a performing arts center for children with autism and the community. The donation consisted of a lot on the Vista Del Mar campus where a temple was built in the 1950s. After considering demolition of the old building, the designers at AUX Architecture realized that the most sustainable and least ecologically-impactful solution was to repurpose the building, using its structural core to accommodate a 300-seat theater, and add new-build spaces for ancillary services.

That original structure is today the stalls area in the theater. Newly built areas are englobed in a translucent polycarbonate shell made out of 35%-recycled high-performance plastic. By day, the semi-transparent material allows a discreet glimpse as people’s silhouettes move around inside; by night, it transforms the volume into an illuminated lantern, diffusing the internal light into the surroundings and creating a new centerpiece for the campus.

The decision to express the Center’s diurnal and nocturnal mutability via the façade is a clear planning choice for this flexible building conceived to function day and night: by day, educational use prevails with dance classes for children; in the evenings, the theater space hosts professional dance company performances that help support the non-profit...

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