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CAP UCLA Selects BAR Architects For UCLA Nimoy Theater Renovation

The UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture along with its performing arts presenting program, The Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA), announces the selection of BAR Architects of San Francisco for the renovation of the Crest Theatre on Westwood Boulevard. A landmark venue dating back to the 1940s, the Crest will be transformed into the UCLA Nimoy Theater, a new off-campus performing arts space that will be operated and managed by CAP UCLA. Under the leadership of Kristy Edmunds, CAP UCLA's executive and artistic director, the Nimoy Theater will collaborate with campus arts organizations as well as local and national cultural and community partners to develop year-round programming.

BAR Architects, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, has a deep-rooted connection to the Crest Theatre dating back to the late 1980s when Disney selected BAR, in partnership with scenographer Joe Musil, to renovate the theater into a venue that would feature their latest films.

Insightful and creative repurposing of existing buildings is fundamental to BAR Architects' practice. Combining a love of context, history and craft with a commitment to sustainable design principles, BAR will collaborate with the university and CAP UCLA to develop an innovative design that respects and complements the existing historic architecture while providing a new performing arts venue that is:


  • functional, flexible and easily adaptable for artists from different disciplines;
  • reflective of the diverse range of artistic expression that will occur at the Nimoy and outfitted with the most advanced technology;
  • supportive of the arts, the community, UCLA and the many performers and audience members who will open their minds to transformative experiences at this new venue.

"Converting the Crest Theatre into what will become 'The Nimoy' is a thrilling proposition for those of us who care deeply about the performing arts in Los Angeles," said CAP UCLA Executive and Artistic Director, Kristy Edmunds. "BAR brings an impressive depth of experience and an authentic care for this particular theater starting in the 1980s. Now that it will revert to its original use for live performance across disciplines, I was struck by how enthusiastic they were to be able to return to the venue with a bold vision for its enduring future."

A primary focus of BAR's practice is the renovation of educational, arts and entertainment complexes. Their diverse portfolio includes projects such as George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, Sonoma State University's School of Music at the Green Music Center and the Library of Congress' Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation.

A signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment to create net-zero buildings, sustainability is integral to the firm's design process. The Nimoy Theater project will target a LEED Gold Certification.

"BAR is thrilled to once again lead the design of the Crest, redefining its role and identity in the 21st Century as UCLA's Nimoy Theater," said Gary Schilling, principal, BAR Architects. "As a significant new performance venue in Westwood Village, the Nimoy will foster a deeper relationship between academia and the arts, engaging UCLA and the greater community in the creative dialogue that is critical to the health of our culture and society."

"Selected from amongst a pool of exceptional architects from around the country, BAR Architects brings extensive experience creating transformative performing arts spaces for creative organizations across California," said Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. "Backed by a team of highly qualified creatives who are well versed in balancing the realities of a historic venue with current day theater and audience needs, BAR's early ideas for this project have already demonstrated how their creative thinking promises to yield an innovative venue tailored to cutting-edge performance and audience cultivation. I look forward to collaborating with BAR on this important project and to building on our shared vision in the days and months ahead."

Joining BAR as part of the renovation team will be The Shalleck Collaborative, a consulting firm with offices in Berkeley and Portland, who will provide services in the planning, design and integration of state-of-the-art theater production and AV systems for the Nimoy. Their projects include American Conservatory Theatre's new Strand Theater and the Exploratorium Kanbar Forum, both in San Francisco; Freight & Salvage Coffee House in Berkeley; and the University of Oregon's Berwick Hall, home to the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene.

UCLA's purchase of the long-dormant theater was made possible by lead gifts from actor, writer and director Susan Bay Nimoy, and an anonymous donor, including a $2.5 million challenge gift. CAP UCLA is launching a campaign to raise the funds necessary to meet the $2.5 million challenge (there is a dollar-to dollar match), to support the theater's renovation and to establish an operating endowment for future programs. With an anticipated opening date in 2021, the venue will be re-named the UCLA Nimoy Theater in honor of Nimoy's late husband, Leonard Nimoy.

The UCLA Nimoy Theater is envisioned as a much-needed public platform for emerging contemporary performing artists across all disciplines whose work seeks an intimate scale, including extraordinary UCLA students and recent alumni, independent practitioners throughout Los Angeles and national and international visiting artists. The reinvigorated theater, which will be upgraded to current standards and outfitted with advanced technology, will become a dynamic home on the Westside of Los Angeles for both audiences and artists, enabling creative collaboration and presentation in theater, music, digital media, spoken word, dance and contemporary performance.

Building on the strength of UCLA's internationally acclaimed public arts institutions and programs, this acquisition reinforces the university's commitment to the arts and public engagement as it marks its centennial in 2019.

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