Buckley School Center for Community and the Arts

Originally developed in 1933, the Buckley School is tucked away from Los Angeles’s sprawl within in a steep canyon. In an effort to further its longstanding commitment to enrichment and creativity, Buckley came to FF&P to design a new auditorium that could accommodate the entire breadth of the school’s performances, gatherings, and special events. The biggest challenge—a constrained, hillside site, with limited room to build.
To maximize flexibility within a minimal footprint, our design for Buckley’s auditorium includes retractable seating laid out along a 45-degree axis over a flat floor. The possibilities are nearly endless, even as the auditorium’s footprint remains minimal.
As the school’s most prominent structure, the new auditorium injects a subtle contemporary energy into the traditional campus architecture. A rust-colored stucco façade harmonizes with the surrounding canyon landscape, as well as with Buckley’s existing campus architecture. Its graphic pattern—a subtle reference to a stage curtain—is complemented by exposed concrete and glass that reflects the surrounding landscape.
An exterior social stairway connects the entry plaza with the auditorium’s mezzanine and lower level classrooms while serving as an informal gathering place. Windows fill auditorium’s interior with natural light, but can also be blacked out when necessary.