Grady Gammage Memorial Theatre at Arizona State University: Tempe, Arizona
Though this theatre was designed by Wright, it was not built until after his death in 1959. The spirit of the original plans was followed and the building was updated with a few modern conveniences that were not available in 1959. I think Wright would approve of the changes that were made.
The Wright designed theatre is the centerpiece of the campus.
I also think Wright would approve of the location of the theatre. It is definitely front and center of the campus. It is the first thing you notice when you drive by the University.
The outside of the building is dominated by the columns and arches at the tops of the columns. The overhang tends to hid the large balcony that is on the third floor.
People can look out, but it is difficult to look in during the day or night.
The building is framed by the ornamental and functional walkways on either side.
Walkways serve as an easy entrance and exit to all of the upper theatre levels.
Looking back towards the theatre
Looking away towards the rest of campus.
Inside the theatre is very functional and beautiful. Though the carpet is not a Wright design specific for this building. It is certainly Wright inspired and fits perfectly with the decor.
The circular motif is also reflected in the drinking fountains
In the main auditorium, the building maintains its beauty, while being acoustically perfect. The auditorium seats thousands, and yet no amplification is needed to be heard loud and clear in the highest balcony. The tour guide demonstrated this to us by talking in a normal voice on stage, while we sat in the second balcony.
Next time we visit Phoenix, we plan to attend a performance at this theatre to enjoy it the way Wright meant it to be enjoyed.
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