Inhabiting the former Panavision headquarters in the West San Fernando Valley, CCH already has a reputation in the film industry as a reliable hatchery of production talent. The school would like to attract more industry visitors to check out student films; the square-shouldered corporate building and its out-of-the-way location fail to generate much excitement, however. Few visitors will be bored, though, when they enter this room of five cone-shaped micro-buildings, all fitting together snugly inside a single large space, resembling a set of trumpets packed hurriedly into a suitcase. Each cone-shaped enclosure is a miniature movie theater, functioning as both a small classroom and student film showcase. (The conical shape of the classrooms is inspired by the flare of film projection.)
The architects predict the multi-theater cluster would be catnip for Industry people to gather and watch screenings. “We are hoping to make the school into a center of cultural activity,” says DDD principal Joe Day. With architecture this provocative, that goal may be possible: Columbia’s hive of little theaters would be exciting even if it weren’t in the Valley.