Gammage Memorial Auditorium
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Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
1200 South Forest Avenue|
|Owner||Arizona State University|
|Broadway Across America|
Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
|Architect||Frank Lloyd Wright|
|NRHP reference #||85002170|
|Added to NRHP||September 11, 1985|
The Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is a multipurpose performing arts center located in Tempe, Arizona within the main campus of Arizona State University (ASU). The auditorium, which bears the name of former ASU President Grady Gammage, is considered to be one of the last public commissions of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
According to historical content produced by Arizona State University, the process that would eventually lead to the historic Gammage Memorial Auditorium began in 1957 when incumbent ASU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 campus facility serving as both an auditorium and gymnasium was rendered unusable due to a collapsed roof, likely forming the first event in the chronology of the new auditorium’s development. Gammage successfully 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. 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. Wright’s contribution to the blueprint of the concert hall seized 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.
Structure and subsequent changes
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 a total of 3,017 people pop 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.
Performance and other spaces
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, hydronic 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
- Storrer, William Allin. The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion. University of Chicago Press, 2006, ISBN 0-226-77621-2 (S.432)
- "National Register of Historical Places - ARIZONA - Maricopa County". National Park Service.
-  Archived May 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
-  Archived May 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
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