La Jolla Music Society | The Conrad
La Jolla, Calif.
Best Project

Owner: La Jolla Music Society
Lead Design Firm | Architect: Epstein Joslin Architects Inc.
General Contractor: DPR Construction
Civil Engineer | Structural Engineer: BWE Inc.
MEP Engineer: Syska Hennessy Group
Architect: Joseph Wong Design Associates (JWDA)
Landscape Architect: Burton Landscape Architecture Studio
Subcontractors: Associate Mechanical Contractors; Bergelectric Corp.; DPR Concrete; DPR Drywall; McMahon Steel Co.; Protech Theatrical Services Inc.; Quality Cabinet and Fixture Co.; Sound Image; Vorwaller & Brooks Inc.; Theatrical Consultants Collaborative; Nagata Acoustics; Robert F. Mahoney & Associates

ENR’s judges appreciated this performing arts center’s complex constructibility and finish quality. Designed to be an arts oasis within La Jolla’s central business district, the Conrad holds a 500-seat concert hall and a 150-person flexible performance space.

The 500-seat Baker-Baum Concert Hall serves as an intimate setting for non-amplified classical and contemporary music. The hall is outfitted with activated stage lifts, hinged stage borders, audio and projection systems, adjustable acoustic banners and stage rigging—all designed so the room can readily convert for a variety of performances.

To create an aural warmth, the design team created a wood “nest” that wraps the audience and performance platform so that sound permeates and reflects off the outer shoe-box-shaped concrete-and-masonry shell.

As excavation began, soil boring and documented soil conditions showed the concert hall’s original foundation was spread footings with slab-on-grade atop a sand and vapor barrier. Ground water was also found above the basement’s concrete slab and required a redesign that added a below-grade waterproofing bathtub and a uniquely shaped mat slab as well as a temporary dewatering system.

The complex change required updated, expedited reviews by the city of San Diego. With solid collaboration among the structural trades, the team narrowed the expected 16-20 week delay to 10 weeks and absorbed the changes without stopping work.

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