From its 1937 opening, Frost Amphitheater played a prominent role at Stanford University as the site of concerts and graduations, till it gradually fell into disuse. Our 2019 renovation revitalized and modernized the facility for Stanford Live, making it a first class venue for popular music, able to host everything from comedians to the San Francisco Symphony. 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. The facility is 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 corners of the platform and the rigging beams in the canopy allow touring groups to bring their own audio equipment, but the house system with d&b line arrays and subwoofers along the stage front provide loud, exciting amplification for audience and a surprisingly clear condition for performers.
Audiovisual Systems Design
Mechanical Noise Control
Room Acoustics Design
Cody Anderson Wasney Architects, Architect, Palo Alto, CA
Fisher Dachs Associates, New York, NY, Theater consultant
8,000 Lawn Seating
$33.5 million (est)