Dance Studio
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California


The Dance Studio is sited adjacent to the 1991 Forum Theater on a plateau at the southwest gateway of the University of California, San Diego campus, extending the existing Theater District with minimal impact on the existing eucalyptus grove. In contrast to the Forum, which occupies a clearing in the grove, the new facility is inserted into the forest of eucalyptus.  

The design is "a dance on the impulse toward movement," where the dynamic tension between the building and its site echoes the choreographic relationship between dancers. Studios are grouped around a courtyard and organized by a curving wall which links the studios to the main campus and the Forum. Apertures in the arcing wall allow natural ventilation and light into the studios, and provide opportunities for dancers to inhabit and engage the building.  

By weaving the facility into the grove, exterior spaces for casual gatherings and impromptu performances are created, further eliminating the boundaries between daily movement and ethereal dance. Glazing in the courtyard reflects the rhythms of the trees in the grove, uniting with the rhythm of music and the ebb and flow of the nearby ocean to provide a natural grounding for an introspective dance community.  

The choreographic intention of the building is reinforced by its technical capabilities - a sprung basketweave floor with a surface appropriate for a variety of dance styles, acoustical isolation of the studios, and the ability to accomodate public performances in the largest studio.