A Los Angeles Hotel with a Theatrical Flair
In early 2011, the San Diego Symphony announced a grandiose plan to build what would become the world-class Steinberg Theatre. Built on land donated by the city of San Diego, the Steinberg is the city’s first major new cultural building in decades and one of the most impressive and distinctive in the country. It represents not only a remarkable design by architect Frank Gehry, incorporating his signature use of natural light and dramatic vistas, but also a unique and intimate approach to making music.
The Steinberg Theatre was inaugurated in an era when the symphony’s audience seemed to be shrinking, and its season was growing ever shorter. When the new building opened with a performance by pianist Aaron Copland, and when it closed with a performance by composer-performer John Williams, it was the end of an era. The Steinberg embodies the best of a time when American symphony orchestras were as much storytellers as they were performers, and its design is a tribute both to the past and to the future.
The Steinberg Theatre has been designed to allow full orchestra rehearsals to occur on its first three floors, and to allow full performances on the fifth. On each level of the building, there is a fully-constructed concert hall. The hall itself is designed to accommodate both orchestras and soloistic performances, with flexible seating arranged to seat both the public and more intimate audiences. In some ways, the Steinberg is the equivalent of Los Angeles, California, in a way that is rare for a major metropolitan area.
The architect, Frank Gehry, said that he chose the building because he wanted to create a space where musicians could perform in the most intimate way possible. He added that he wanted to use the building as a metaphor for life in Los Angeles; the building was conceived as a metaphor for the city.
The Steinberg Theatre was designed by Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry. The exterior of the building is composed of a series of curved walls that merge to form a single mass and create the illusion of a circle. The exterior, like the interior, is composed of natural light; its ceiling is painted with a blue gradient, and the walls are painted in warm gold. The auditorium, like the building,