From its 1937 opening, Frost Amphitheater played a prominent role at Stanford University as the site of concerts and graduations, till it fell into disuse. Our 2019 renovation revitalized and modernized the facility into a first-class concert venue for Stanford Live.
The renovation retained the beautiful green lawn with space for 8,000, surrounded by a berm crowned with trees, but added tunnels for pedestrian access to the lawn and vehicular access to the stage. The bare performance platform became a new stage covered by a graceful canopy and backed by a support building that offers dressing rooms and a rooftop party plaza. Because the amphitheater serves everything from popular music to comedians to the San Francisco Symphony, the facility was specifically detailed with acoustics in mind. The upstage wall is a sweeping convex curve covered with rusticated stone, giving a beautiful backdrop to performers. It supports the symphony’s sound but scatters high frequencies so monitor loudspeakers do not send confusing reflections to audiences. The canopy features an extra-deep acoustic deck for bass absorption, and its shaping offers just enough acoustic support to performers to give them a sense of comfort. New toilet buildings at the back of the berm were detailed to avoid reflecting amplified sound back to the audience. The canopy’s rigging accommodates touring groups or the house system’s d&b line arrays, which provide loud, exciting amplification for audience and a surprisingly clear condition for performers.