Located within the heart of the Village of La Jolla, CA, The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center for La Jolla Music Society is designed as a world-class destination for staging its renowned Summerfest events; supporting the continued growth of the Society’s high-level music, dance, film and opera performances; expanding the opportunities for educational programing; and enhancing the identity of the La Jolla cultural community.

The facility boasts a 500-seat state-of-the-art concert hall with variable acoustics, stage configurations, and media projection capabilities. Across the courtyard a 150-seat flexible use performance, education and/or social space offers a youthful and energetic alternative. And the outdoor garden plaza, protected from the street by a terra cotta veil, not only serves both as a mixing lobby, but also offers a lively social/performance space all its own. 

Growing out of an in-depth community planning process, the facility is shaped as an intimate composition of smaller structures and open spaces that maintain the traditional building scale of the Village, borrowing in form and material from the spirit of beloved architectural gems of the La Jolla and the broader San Diego area, that speak to the unique culture and climate of the region, yet wholly contemporary in nature. 

 
Impeccable elegance are the words that may be used to describe the gala grand opening weekend of The Conrad, the La Jolla Music Society’s new musical and cultural center bringing heart and soul to the center of the storied village. The highest quality—due to architecture, sound design and musical performance–was exactly what was on offer in the courtyard and inside the magnificent new Baker-Baum Concert Hall of The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center on Friday night and throughout the weekend.
— Barry Jagoda, Times of San Diego

Opening Weekend

But, really, the star of the show was the venue . . . a collaboration between Epstein Joslin Architects and Yasuhisa Toyota . . . Each component exudes a quiet elegance. But the Baker-Baum Concert Hall’s sleek lines, impeccable attention to detail and fuss-free aesthetics are especially impressive, underscoring Toyota’s recent observation that: ‘We are hearing the acoustics not only with our ears, but with our eyes.’
— George Varga, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Image copyright: EJA(1,4,11,14-16), Douglas Gates (2,3,5-10,12,13)

Diagrams

Trellis Feature

Event Shots

‘Jewel box’ is a term often used to describe theaters or concert halls of modest size and exquisite design. Usually, they are also well over a century old, but a new concert hall that recently opened in La Jolla, California, is also worthy of the term. The Baker-Baum Concert Hall is the main performance space in the inviting Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center . . . Intended for chamber music . . . it was designed by a team of acousticians (Nagata Acoustics) and architects (Epstein Joslin Architects) known for grander projects, and it melds acoustical excellence with audience friendliness.
— George Loomis, The New Criterion

Design Renderings

Congratulations and deepest thanks from all of us at LJMS for designing our beautiful new performing arts center . . . [and] partnering with us to take our dream and turn it into a spectacular and stunning reality.

The Conrad shone like the finely crafted jewel that it is . . . a performing arts center that will soon be nationally, and, dare I say, internationally known. It was sheer pleasure and wonder to see the how the Baker-Baum Concert Hall, the JAI and the majestic courtyard were each utilized brilliantly and differently each night to showcase their capabilities. It was clear that every detail was thoughtfully planned and the results were all the high notes . . . a legacy to be very proud of.
— Katherine Chapin, Board Chair, La Jolla Music Society

Interview with EJA

Construction Process

You were all masterful in working with the different sensitivities of staff and Board members and most especially with our major donors . . . what stands out most to me is the way you were somehow able to listen to so many disparate ideas and then include (as incredible as it seems to me) all of them in your [resulting design]. It reminds me of that culinary television program where the featured guest is given four ingredients by the audience and must then find a way to make magic out of peanut butter, sirloin steak, pineapple, and avocado . . . and you all certainly did.
— Christopher Beach, President and Artistic Director, La Jolla Music Society

Project Data

STATUS: Completed 2019

SIZE: 49,000 sf

COST: $42 million

Project Credits

OWNER: La Jolla Music Society, La Jolla, CA

CONTRACTOR: DPR Construction

ARCHITECT: Epstein Joslin Architects

Principals-in-Charge: Alan Joslin (design), Ray Porfilio (PM), Deborah Epstein (Special Projects, Interiors and Finishes), Project Designer and Senior Associate: Robert Picardy, Designers: Kuzina Cheng, Chimaobi Izeogu, David Foxe

ASSOCIATE ARCHITECT: Joseph Wong Design Associates

ACOUSTICIAN: Nagata Acoustics

THEATER: Theatre Consultants Collaborative

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Burton Landscape Architecture Studio

CIVIL/STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Burkett & Wong Engineers

MEP: Syska Hennessy Group

IMAGE COPYRIGHT: Opening photos, Douglas Gates, EJA; Diagrams, EJA; Design renderings, Dennis Allain