At California State University, Fullerton, the Clayes Performing Arts Center houses multiple performance venues. These include the Vaughncille Joseph Meng Concert Hall, renowned for its outstanding acoustics and unobstructed subtleties of sound. The James D. Young Theatre, an intimate thrust-stage theatre designed to bring actors to the center of the space. And the Hallberg Theatre, which is a black box theatre with flexible seating that hosts experimental, rare, and world-premiere performances.

With a theater and dance program that is consistently ranked among the best in the country with buildings that were decades old, CSUF was in desperate need of new facilities that would be commensurate with the caliber of its teachers and programs. When we were hired to design a new arts center to satisfy this demand, we were given a twofold responsibility. One was to design a building that would not only perform well but also contribute to the life of the University.

As a result, a multi-venue hub serving as the gateway to a burgeoning arts district has been created. In addition, a new plaza, planned as a dignified foreground to the structure, serves as the beginning of the University’s “Arts Walk,” which connects the Art Center to existing performing and visual arts buildings on the campus of the University of Michigan. “We were quite fortunate in terms of the architects.”

They did not push their vision of what the complex should be in the situation. I’ve been to many locations that were either too cold or didn’t function properly at all. It’s not only utilitarian, but I also get the impression that the place has a certain vitality to it that’s kind of contagious.”