The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego Waterfront Building, South Embarcadero Park Architecture

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park

August 5, 2 & 1, 2021

Performance shell design: Soundforms with their Architects Flanagan Lawrence ; Lead Architect and Architect of Record: Tucker Sadler

Location: Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way, Embarcadero, San Diego waterfront, California, USA

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, the new permanent outdoor home of the San Diego Symphony, to open August 6, 2021

Scenic Waterfront Venue Seating Up to 10,000 Premieres with a Weekend Celebration Featuring Stars of Classical Music, Broadway, Soul, Pop, and More

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego, California

Soundforms with their Architects Flanagan Lawrence are the designers of the Performance Shell. The Soundforms team, which also includes Expedition Engineers and ES Global, developed their design in conjunction with Tucker Sadler, who are the Lead Architect and Architect of Record and responsible for the overall design of the Venue at Jacob’s Park.

Soundforms designed the spatial layout of the Performance Shell, its volume, its form, and developed the technical integration of acoustics, rigging and structure to accommodate the SDSO’s brief. Soundforms took the design of the Performance Shell to Developed Design status, which was issued to the SDSO in March 2018.

Tucker Sadler have expanded the design around the shell with dressing rooms and ancillary spaces. Please note Tucker Sadler are also the Executive Architect of the entire project including the Performance Shell.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego, California

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego Embarcadero


The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park—a spectacular new year-round venue with 360-degree views of San Diego’s downtown, marina, and bay—will open with a weekend celebration as the first permanent outdoor home of the San Diego Symphony. Designed to host more than 100 concerts and events year-round, The Rady Shell is the centerpiece of the 3.7-acre public Jacobs Park on the city’s scenic Embarcadero. The venue is an unprecedented resource for the Symphony’s diverse schedule of outdoor classical concerts programmed by Music Director Rafael Payare, and a variety of other musical and cultural programs.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego, California


Opening August 6-8, 2021


The Rady Shell will officially open on August 6 with Rafael Payare conducting the San Diego Symphony in the world premiere of a new work for orchestra and turntable by Mason Bates and performances featuring cellist Alisa Weilerstein, bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green, and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Opening weekend continues with “The Best of Broadway” on August 7, featuring the Symphony conducted by renowned musical theatre director Rob Fisher, showcasing Broadway luminaries Megan Hilty, Norm Lewis, Kelli O’Hara, and Adrienne Warren. The opening celebration concludes on August 8 with seven-time GRAMMY-winner Gladys Knight and special guest Naturally 7.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego, California


The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park has been developed through a collaboration among the San Diego Symphony and leading design and construction experts.

Tucker Sadler Architects is lead designer and architect of record of this state-of-the-art venue. Greg Mueller, the firm’s CEO and Design Principal, has been involved with the project from its inception 18 years ago. He and his team have been responsible for The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park as a whole, encompassing the performance shell, backstage artist support spaces, three professional kitchens, underground restrooms, a gracefully sloped seating area for up to 10,000, and a park open to the public on one of the most beautiful settings between San Diego Bay and the San Diego skyline.

A key partner was Soundforms, designer of the performance shell. Soundforms and its London partners Flanagan Lawrence, Expedition and ES Global designed the award-winning 2012 mobile acoustic performance shell (MAPS) to be temporary and acoustically excellent. Working together with Tucker Sadler, Soundforms expanded the design to accommodate a large orchestra with chorus and soloists and to be permanent structure on the Embarcadero Marina Park South site.

Sound Consultant Shawn Murphy worked closely with San Diego Symphony CEO Martha Gilmer and the entire design team to ensure the creation of the best possible acoustic environment. He introduced to the team a San Francisco-based firm, Salter, dedicated to acoustic and sound engineering and audiovisual components. Berkeley-based Meyer Sound designed the signature Constellation System, used here in its first outdoor installation, which creates an onstage acoustic equivalent to the high standard of indoor concert halls. The combination of the shell design with Salter’s acoustic paneling, the Meyer Constellation system and the custom designed L-Acoustic surround reinforcement system, has created the best possible acoustic experience for performers, which translates across a wide range of musical genres into an extraordinary sonic experience for audiences.

Another key partner in creating the performance shell is the Australia-based company Fabritecture, which developed and oversaw the technical design, fabrication and installation of the tensile structure of the performance shell, as well as the backstage support spaces, executive kitchen, the box office and two dining pavilions.

Two further design partners are HLB, which completed the architectural lighting design, and Schuler Shook, which completed the theater lighting and rigging design.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego, California


Tickets for the opening weekend are available at

Located in South Embarcadero Park, San Diego, California, USA

About Rafael Payare, Music Director
One of today’s most sought-after conductors, renowned for his profound musicianship, technical brilliance, and charismatic presence, Rafael Payare assumed the leadership of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra as its Music Director on July 1, 2019.

Mr. Payare served as Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Ulster Orchestra from 2014 through 2019 and was named Conductor Laureate in recognition of his artistic contributions. He also has served as Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival and Honorary Conductor of the Sinfonietta Cracovia.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego, California

In 2022, Mr. Payare will assume the role of Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. As a guest conductor, he has led many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. As an opera conductor, Mr. Payare made his acclaimed debut at the Glyndebourne Festival in 2019 and has conducted at the Royal Swedish Opera and Malmo Opera.

Born in Venezuela in 1980 and a graduate of El Sistema, Mr. Payare began his formal conducting studies in 2004 with José Antonio Abreu. He has conducted all the major orchestras in Venezuela, including the Simón Bolívar Orchestra, in which he served as Principal Horn and took part in many tours and recordings with conductors including Giuseppe Sinopoli, Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle, and Lorin Maazel. In May 2012, Rafael Payare was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition.

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego, California

About San Diego Symphony

Founded in 1910, the San Diego Symphony is the oldest orchestra in California and one of the largest and most significant cultural organizations in San Diego. The Orchestra performs for more than 250,000 people each season, offering a wide variety of programming at its two much-loved venues, Copley Symphony Hall in downtown San Diego and The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park on San Diego Bay.

In early 2018, the San Diego Symphony announced the appointment of Rafael Payare as music director. Payare leads the orchestra’s 82 full-time musicians, graduates of the finest and most celebrated music schools in the United States and abroad. The San Diego Symphony also serves as the orchestra for the San Diego Opera each season, as well as performing at several regional performing arts and community centers.

For more than 30 years, the San Diego Symphony has provided comprehensive learning and community engagement programs reaching more than 65,000 students annually and bringing innovative programming to San Diego’s diverse neighborhoods and schools. For more information, visit

The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, San Diego

Photos: San Diego Symphony

Address: 222 Marina Park Way, San Diego, CA 92101, United States
Phone: +1 619-235-0804

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