De Anza Visual and Performing Arts CenterSalas O’Brien maintains a staunch commitment to client service and to adapting to the unique needs of each project. In the case of the De Anza Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC), this meant making special provisions in planning to ensure minimal impact to the beauty and acoustics of a facility that sits on an influential Silicon Valley campus.

A community college serving San Francisco’s South Bay area, De Anza College provides a wide variety of educational programs to 21,000 students on 12 acres in Cupertino, CA. Once attended by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, the college has played a significant role in Cupertino’s growth from a small town into a powerhouse of Silicon Valley. In fact, over the years Apple has held several of their famous product-debut mega-events on campus, including unveiling the original Mac in 1984, the iMac in 1998, and the Apple Watch in 2014.

Construction of De Anza’s VPAC was in response to the success of the college’s performing arts program—which far outgrew its Flint Center for the Performing Arts—as well as a growing need for large lecture hall facilities. Funded by a voter-approved bond and one significant patron donation, the 400-seat, multi-use facility is used for classes and a variety of college and community events such as film viewings, dances, concerts, meetings, lectures, and live theater. Also home to the Euphrat Museum, a dynamic exhibition space, the VPAC building was certified LEED® Silver.

Salas O’Brien provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering; central plant upgrades; and LEED certification services to VPAC. The nature of the facility’s purpose as a beautiful and acoustically sensitive performance center impacted the team’s designs and procedures in multiple ways throughout construction. This included special provisions in planning to avoid interfering with the delicate acoustics of the performance areas and to minimize aesthetic impact to the facility.

The finished 20,000-square-foot building serves as an accessible, sustainable, modifiable, and beautiful event venue for college students and community members alike. We at Salas O’Brien are proud of our role on such impactful higher-education campuses.