Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center

Opening Year2021
LocationInglewood, California, USA
Capacity272 seats
ArchitectFrank O. Gehry (Gehry Partners, LLP)
Chait and Company, Inc.
Owner/UserLos Angeles Philharmonic
Youth Orchestra Los Angeles

Inspired by the success of El Sistema, Gustavo Dudamel has championed the growth of the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA). Gehry Partners was challenged to create a welcoming space for these students to perform, rehearse, and learn within a remarkably tight budget. Formerly a bank, then a fast-food joint, the Beckmen YOLA Center is situated directly adjacent to Inglewood City Hall. Nagata Acoustics providing room acoustical consulting services specifically for the flexible performance space.

The Edgerton Foundation Performance Hall features two main use configurations. In the concert mode, audience is seated on retractable risers which seat 200 and lead up to the control position at grade. A small balcony of 72 loose seats sits above. In a truly dramatic re-configuration into rehearsal mode, the retractable seats are stored and an enormous double partition on rails are deployed to split the space in two for two orchestras to rehearse side-by-side. When not in use, the partition segments hang flush with the upstage walls behind a floating plywood acoustical reflector.

Since the historic facade was too short to properly house a concert hall, the stage level was placed at a newly dug basement level. A clerestory was added over the stage, allowing for an interior clear height of 14.2m. Windows at the mezzanine, balcony, and clerestory levels let in plenty of natural light into the already bright white and warm toned space. The hall itself is hexagonal, with supporting practice rooms, classroom, and support spaces filling in the rest of the rectangular footprint.

Construction began on site in Spring 2019 and was completed in May 2021. The center opened to the public in October 2021.