San Diego Theatre

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  • San Diego theater model San Diego theater model
  • site model for San Diego site model for San Diego
  • full size theater mockup full size theater mockup
  • San Diego model of construction technique showing metal framing for sprayed concrete San Diego model of construction technique showing metal framing for sprayed concrete
  • San Diego theater section San Diego theater section
  • San Diego theater floor plan San Diego theater floor plan

In the design for the San Diego Theater, Goldberg aimed to create more than a theater-- but one with a community center where actors, audience, and students could congregate and exchange information and theatrical experience. Developed to fit the changing earth forms of the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the project was to contain three theaters, theater workshops, a restaurant, a club and offices. He wanted the design to harmonize with the natural landscape, as stated by Goldberg, "the earth surface has been deeply eroded by water for many centuries, and the building shapes are intended to grow out of the terrain." Goldberg went on to describe the design as "a kind of organic living form. It moves around, following the land and functions."

Goldberg had spent time on theater design earlier, with the Cinestage Theater in Chicago in the late 1950's and also with the theater designs for Marina City. In San Diego, he worked with noted theater director Michael Langham, who had been head of the Shakespeare at Stratford festival for many years, and later the Drama Director at Juilliard.

He described the interior of the theater as "a great space bubble, with no one more than sixty feet away from the action, and seats at various levels either below, above or at stage level." A full size mock-up of the design was built inside the abandoned Piccadilly Theater in Chicago in order to test the site lines. The design for the theater was glowingly described in an article from the period as "one of the world's finest repertory theaters", but the project was unbuilt.