|An Architectural Treasure
"You've added a jewel to the Crown City," said Donald F. Yokaitis, Mayor of Pasadena, April 7, 1974, when Ambassador Auditorium opened.
The Worldwide Church of God built Ambassador Auditorium as a center of worship at its international headquarters in Pasadena, and later opened it to the public for fine cultural performances. The concert hall, designed by the Los Angeles-based architectural firm of Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall, took 12 years to conceptualize and two years to build (by the William Simpson Construction Company of Los Angeles).
"Of all the buildings in North America, there are none that exceed its magnificence in quality and materials, patient craftsmanship and felicitous design," said Arthur E. Mann, senior vice president, Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall.
The materials and furnishings in the 1,262-seat hall were gathered from many nations, truly making it an international cultural center.
The spiraling bronze Egret Fountain by British sculptor David Wynne soars 37 feet over the 500,000-gallon reflecting pool below lit by 365 lights located beneath the water surface.
Norwegian Sandefijord granite and African Angola black granite walkways lead to Ambassador's entrance and its exterior fortified in Brazilian emerald green granite that was cut and polished in Viareggio, Italy.
Ambassador Auditorium's solid grandeur recalls a historic past accented with contemporary grace. Twenty-six, 72-foot quartz aggregate columns support soffits featuring Italian mosaic tile sparkling with 24-karat gold squares. Those gold squares shimmer, reflecting light from the half-acre pool that lies before the entrance.
Interior designer Robert Smith, ASID, created the breathtaking elegance that greets visitors as they enter the sparkling glass Grand Lobby. A 2.5-ton, 1,390-piece, bronze and crystal chandelier from Germany crowns the scene. Below, a regal purple carpet fabricated in Hong Kong of 100 percent wool features a crystalline, starburst pattern that complements the crystals hanging overhead.
Rose onyx from Turkey and Iran that was polished in Italy adorns lobby walls in one of the largest such installations of its kind in the world.
One-piece handrails made of the rare African wood called Shedua lead up and down plush stairs embellished beneath with 24-carat gold leaf. Since rosewood, the primary wall covering throughout the main hall was not obtainable in thicknesses greater than 3/4 of an inch, Shedua was selected because its grain and color closely resembled rosewood. Highly polished stairway terminuses in the lower lounge are deeply variegated onyx.
The auditorium's main doors of fabricated bronze weigh 200 pounds each and quiet any ambient noise. These doorways welcome the world to cultural and artistic achievement.
Walls paneled with South American rosewood inlaid with Burmese teakwood and luxurious seats make Ambassador memorable for both performers and audiences.
Behind the scenes away from patrons' view are the inner workings of Ambassador Auditorium that facilitated its reputation as one of the world's top five concert halls.
Within the great hall, 37 gilded acoustical "clouds" covered in 24-carat gold leaf are suspended over the stage and audience to produce perfect sound. The auditorium's superior sound system employs baffles and surfaces that can be adjusted to absorb, reflect or reinforce sound depending upon the particular requirements of a performance. The firm of Bolt, Beranek, and Newman of Canoga Park designed Ambassador's acoustical systems.
"Most concert halls are single-purpose, but this one had to be multipurpose. One of the major design problems was how to achieve this. We solved it by using interior ceiling drapes to control reverberation for different hall usages," wrote Harry B. Clausen, project architect for the firm Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall.
The maple-covered orchestra lift has five pre-set levels enabling it to serve as an extension of the stage, augment audience seating for 80 or convert to an orchestra pit for up to 60 musicians. It also functions as a freight elevator and can be stopped arbitrarily regardless of a pre-selected level. The lift is operated by four hydraulic cylinders with a maximum descent of about 17 feet below stage level.
Ambassador Auditorium is a state-of-the-art facility inviting world-class performances. HRock Church is proud to be its steward, and opens its doors to the world so that individuals and the community may be transformed by Ambassador Auditorium's promise of quality performances in these uniquely gracious surroundings.
For more information about Ambassador Auditorium, please call General Manager Doug Huse, also Director of Operations at HRock Church at (626) 696-8701.