John Adams Middle School Performing Arts Center

Community Performing Arts Hub

John Adams Middle School Performing Arts Center is set to be a dynamic arts environment for both the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Santa Monica College, carefully integrating the distinct needs of both its middle school and college users. The resulting design offers an inspiring incubator for all students to explore and develop their artistic voices. Extending along the public face of the John Adams Middle School (JAMS) campus on Pearl Street in Santa Monica, California, the new Center will establish a strong visual identity for the school and a formal engagement with Santa Monica College, which is located just across the street. It will provide new spaces for diverse student populations within a setting that invites the surrounding community to feel equally at home.

The openness of The Center’s design reflects the school district’s goal of creating a thriving, active hub that promotes community building around the arts and facilitates interaction between students, faculty, artists and the community. Performance and rehearsal spaces open to outdoor courtyard spaces that acknowledge the character of the existing campus and take advantage of the temperate climate to create flexible spaces for informal gathering. In addition to serving its host middle school campus, HGA was challenged to design a center that would also support Santa Monica College as a venue for its performing arts and educational programming, strengthening the relationship between the two schools. The design team was recently recognized for its success by Westside Urban Forum for demonstrating excellence in city making and community building through the new Center.

The Center will feature a modern 750-seat auditorium tailored to meet the needs of the notable JAMS music program. The auditorium’s acoustic design accommodates a variety of ensemble performance mediums within a cost-efficient configuration that also supports a range of theatrical presentations. This adaptability will be achieved through the integration of a Meyer Sound electronic acoustic system, enabling the auditorium to have a lower physical profile and smaller footprint than would otherwise be possible utilizing a traditional passive design approach. A large, flexible rehearsal space will complement the auditorium, supporting music and dance as well as hosting community events and classroom functions. Practice rooms, dedicated classrooms, offices and libraries for orchestra, band and choir classes round out the program.


Santa Monica, CA

Building Type

Performing Arts


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