The Sunset Center has been the cultural heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea since it graduated from grammar school to community center in 1964. However, the lovely Gothic style auditorium was never a suitable venue for the caliber of artists performing there over the years. ARG’s team designed a state-of-the-art concert hall, transforming the acoustics, sightlines and lighting while preserving the unique historic features. We continued the Gothic forms in an expansive new lobby, a favorite pre- and post-concert gathering space. The Sunset Center has been voted Monterey County’s “Best Concert Venue” every year since 2011!
BEHIND THE SCENES
The hall has hosted the Carmel Bach Festival since 1935.
Its rich history has seen performances from the likes of Isaac Stern, Marian Anderson, Igor Stravinsky, Duke Ellington, and Dave Brubeck.
Over $13 million was raised privately to match the City’s $9.45 million commitment to the project.
Given Carmel’s temperate climate, the concert hall is able to take advantage of its operable windows for much of the year.
The automated LARES “Superaudio” system, was a new and rarely used technology in the US at the time of the project’s completion. The Bach Festival Director, Bruno Weil, proclaimed “It’s like honey for the ears.”
Photography by David Wakely