Overture’s architect, Cesar Pelli recently completed the $200M Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Christopher Hawthorne:
At age 79, the Argentine-born, Connecticut-based architect Cesar Pelli is inevitably described in newspaper and magazine profiles these days as diplomatic and genteel. In his design for the $200-million Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, which opens Friday night, he and his firm have produced a building that brings the very same adjectives to mind. In other words, if you are optimistic enough to believe that classical music — or architecture, for that matter — is an evolving art form with the capacity to provoke as well as merely soothe, you will likely find it enormously disappointing.
The 250,000-square-foot building, which work crews have been racing to prepare for Friday night’s performance by the Pacific Symphony, resembles a high-end hotel lobby or a luxury-car showroom, spaces in which every visible surface is used to promote a buttery handsomeness. Its undulating glass façade wraps gently around a foyer lined with white Spanish granite floors and rich yellow-beige carpeting, and topped with a glimmering silver-leaf ceiling. Beyond that is the auditorium, a stately, old-world and surprisingly tall room with 2,000 seats upholstered in deep red velvet.