Gammage Memorial Auditorium

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ASU Gammage
FLW Gammage Auditorium ASU PHX AZ 20186.JPG
Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Address1200 South Forest Avenue
Tempe, Arizona
United States
OwnerArizona State University
Broadway Across America
Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Gammage Memorial Auditorium is located in Arizona
Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Coordinates33°24′58.67″N 111°56′17.08″W / 33.4162972°N 111.9380778°W / 33.4162972; -111.9380778Coordinates: 33°24′58.67″N 111°56′17.08″W / 33.4162972°N 111.9380778°W / 33.4162972; -111.9380778
ArchitectFrank Lloyd Wright
Architectural styleUsonian
NRHP reference No.85002170[2]
Added to NRHPSeptember 11, 1985
The Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Different view of the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium .

The Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is a multipurpose performing arts center in Tempe, Arizona within the main campus of Arizona State University (ASU).[3] The auditorium, which bears the name of former ASU President Grady Gammage, is considered to be one of the last public commissions of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.[4]

The Gammage stands as one of the largest exhibitors of performing arts among university venues in the world,[5][6] featuring a wide range of genres and events.

The Auditorium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[7]


According to historical content produced by Arizona State University,[8] the process that would lead to the historic Gammage Memorial Auditorium began in 1957 when incumbent ASU President Grady Gammage desired a unique auditorium for the ASU campus. In 1956, a collapsed roof rendered a campus facility that served as an auditorium and gymnasium unusable, likely forming the first event in the chronology of the new auditorium's development.[9][10] Gammage recruited friend Frank Lloyd Wright to take part in the design of the new auditorium. He would, with various budget related alterations, base its design on an opera house that he had conceptualized for the city of Baghdad, Iraq sometime prior upon the invitation of King Faisal II. All intentions for the Baghdad opera house, a feature of the Plan for Greater Baghdad, were effectively abandoned after the King's assassination in the 14 July Revolution.[11] Wright is also said to be responsible for the 1200 South Forest Avenue location of the circular auditorium, a site which was then occupied by an athletic field, and earlier by G.I. housing units.[12] Wright's contribution to the blueprint of the concert hall ceased upon his death in 1959 (coincidentally the same year Grady Gammage expired), leaving protégé William Wesley Peters to undertake its completion. Spearheaded by the R.E. McKee Company, construction of the facility commenced in 1962 and completed twenty-five months later, officially opening on September 18, 1964, in time to host The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.[13][14]

The auditorium was used for the funeral of Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater on June 3, 1998.[15]

On October 13, 2004, the auditorium was the site of the third and closing debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election.[16][17]


The structure measures 300 feet (91 m) long by 250 feet (76 m) wide by 80 feet (24 m) high. Fifty concrete columns support the round roof with its pattern of interlocking circles. Twin "flying buttress" pedestrian ramps extending 200 feet (61 m) from the north and east sides of the structure connect the building to the parking lot. The auditorium seats 3,017 people on its main floor, grand tier and balcony. The stage can be adapted for grand opera, Broadway musicals, dramatic productions, solo productions, organ recitals and lectures.[18][19]

Performance and other spaces[edit]

Interior of the auditorium


The auditorium has a maximum seating capacity of 3,011. It is wheelchair accessible and has an infrared system for 100 hearing-impaired people (in addition to signers).


  • Stage type: proscenium
  • Playing space dimensions: 64'x33' or 64'x40'
  • Proscenium opening: 64'x30'
  • Height grid/ceiling: 78'
  • Stage floor type: Canadian hard rock maple
  • Rigging system type: 58 double purchase, 40 hydraulic (98 lines total)


  • Loading dock
  • Door dimensions: 10'x11'6
  • Dressing rooms: 9
  • Maximum capacity: 54


Permanent installations: traps in stage, orchestra shell, hydraulic orchestra pit, electricity in pit, music stands, pianos Pit

  • Dimensions: 76'x9'
  • Number of stands: 85
  • Chairs for pit: 90


  • Building electrics current: 9 panels-3-600/3-200/2-100/1-100 = 2700 total
  • Lighting board: computer memory
  • Lighting equipment: 32-8x13, 22-10x12, 55-6x9, 30 8" Fresnels, 12 Par Cans, 12 Mini Strips

See also[edit]


  • Storrer, William Allin. The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion. University of Chicago Press, 2006, ISBN 0-226-77621-2 (S.432)


External links[edit]