2014 Awards

Design: Commercial and Institutional

Merit Award

Weill Lawn and Commons at Green Music Center, Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, CA
SWA Group, San Francisco
Lead Landscape Architect: Lawrence Reed
Client: Sonoma State University

Transplanted, 100-year old olive trees provided andimmediate sense of place.
The design emphasized drought-tolerant planting and accessibility to all seating areas.
View from Weill Concert Hall toward classroom buildings and Schroeder Hall.
The landscape architects also combined speakers with lighting to minimize clutter.
Wood-topped sound woofers are integrated as landscape elements that provide seating.
The design provides flexiable seating for chairs, picnics, and tables.
Lawn terraces were precisely calibrated for visual acoustical access.
Grading sketch shows how berms and amphitheaters create concert quality acoustics.
The lawn expands concert hall seating, with views of Sonoma hills.
Illustrative plan, including Weill Lawn (built) and commons (underway).

Weill Lawn and Commons at Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center confirm the importance of landscape in shaping California’s cultural destinations. Completed in 2012, Weill Lawn provides outdoor seating for Weill Pavilion, a 1,400-seat concert facility by architect William Rawn. Modeled on Seiji Ozawa Hall in Tanglewood, Massachusetts, the hall now opens onto a terraced lawn with seating for 5,000. Weill Commons, the larger Phase II amphitheater, will open in 2015 for 10,000 spectators and open air pavilion.

The design of these venues shows the importance of bold, expressive grading and planting. Berms create enclosure and buffer noise, while sweeping pathways provide gracious entries and accessibility. Redwood groves and native oaks frame views to the Sonoma hills. The result, as stated by Sonoma State President Ruben Armiñana, puts the university at the hub of an artistic network serving both the academic world and the larger community.