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Freedom High School Performing Arts Center

  • Location
    Oakley, California
  • Size
    24,000 sq ft
  • Completion
  • Photographer
    Tim Maloney


Freedom High School’s new 24,000 sq ft Performing Arts Centre (PAC) is a dynamic space for musical and theatrical performances, as well as learning the art of theatre production. The project was undertaken in conjunction with California architects, QKA, with Thinkspace providing design services and QKA managing construction administration.

The building’s design is driven by the idea of the theatre as a classroom. The entire building is a series of learning spaces, ranging from regular classrooms to lighting, sound, and music rooms to the theatre itself. These are supported by informal performance and practice spaces, as well as an outdoor arts plaza.

The building’s façade is reminiscent of a large rock in the desert. The design needs to be viewed as a series of interconnected parts that must be experienced inside and out. Shifting volumes, intricate glazing, wide corridors, and extensive daylighting compel people to move around the building to take it in from every angle. At the core is the gem of the building: the 300-seat theatre, which is home to student productions and the heart of the learning experience. The theatre itself has many differently shaped and angled façades, carrying the exterior design vision through to the interior.