Wild Beast Music Pavilion in Valencia, Calif. Courtesy Tom Bonner (left, center) and Hodgetts + Fung (right).

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), The Wild Beast



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design services for a unique music pavilion on the CalArts campus. The 3,200-square-foot, single-story structure houses classroom / performance and storage areas and features 46-foot-wide hangar doors that open to transform the space into an amphitheater. The Wild Beast serves as a public fine arts theater for community members of Santa Clarita Valley offering year-round free concerts and providing public picnic space in the Mark Taper Foundation Courtyard.

The project required close collaboration with the architect to develop a special roof framing system that expresses the structural steel members and details, and allows the floating acoustical enclosure to have minimal thickness. Four parallel arched 14-foot-wide flange sections achieve a 60-foot roof span. Frame action is utilized where the roof is curved, transitioning to composite action where the roof flattens out. The pavilion’s slender form is clearly legible in the structural steel members and their connections, which are expressed both inside and outside of the space.

In 2012, Flavorwire listed The Wild Beast as one of the world’s most beautiful outdoor theaters alongside the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, California, and Cloud Tower in Vienna, Austria.

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