Burbank Auditorium

Santa Rosa, Ca

Santa Rosa Junior College sought to convert the Burbank Auditorium, a beloved 1930’s heritage building, into a programmatically sophisticated and technologically advanced facility for its Theater Arts Program.



Three firms joined forces to deliver a flagship project with ambitious goals to expand repertoire and provide full training in all theatrical possibilities. TLCD Architecture, Mark Cavagnero Associates and The Shalleck Collaborative have come together to share their creativity, technical skills and seasoned leadership with SRJC. The team has leveraged their experience and perspective to work closely with stakeholders to transform the auditorium into a state-of-the-art theater and teaching facility.


Performances by SRJC’s Theater Arts Program and Summer Repertory Theater (SRT) bring the College and Community together. It’s unique role means that the lobby needs to be a welcoming environment for both students and families who have been season ticket holders for generations. To that end, the worn wood paneling, false coffered ceiling and incandescent chandeliers are being replaced with contemporary finishes, energy efficient lighting and expanded amenities. The iconic arched openings bridge the gap between the restored exterior façade and a transformed interior.


The original Burbank Auditorium, built with WPA funds from the pre-WWII New Deal had numerous challenges that demanded realistic solutions. Modern acoustical and technology solutions enhance the experience for both performers and the audience. Ramps and pathways were created to allow for universal accessibility. A steeper rake for seating provides improved sight lines, and an excavated orchestra pit places musicians below the stage. By shifting the catwalks to the attic, the audience can focus on performances with minimal distraction.


Through simplicity of design the greater volume of space is now focused on performance and the audience’s experience. Now, when Peter Pan flies through the air children and adults will be truly mesmerized while theater students practice career skills.


The addition of a 200-seat “Studio Theater” allows the Theater Arts Program to train students in a wide variety of staging and performance styles. In addition to housing theater arts classes and performances, the Studio Theater also serves as a multi-purpose lecture classroom.


The juxtaposition of a modern theater and plaza against the historical building expresses the vision of an engaged and forward-thinking SRJC leadership for a campus that welcomes students and community. The anticipated completion date for the Burbank Auditorium is May 2019.


North Bay Business Journal Top Educational Project 2019


Client: Santa Rosa Junior College

Size: 34,000

Budget: $32 M

Completion: 2020