Stanford University Frost Amphitheater

Stanford University Frost Amphitheater

The historical Frost Amphitheater, home to some of the most iconic pop concerts in the mid-20th century (including Arthur Fielder, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald), a Bay Area rock destination in the 1960s and ’70s (with performances from Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, and Joan Baez), and a place to host the university’s commencement ceremonies from 1937 to 1983, experienced a revival in becoming a space where new audiences can experience the magic of its unique, storied history. The amphitheater was created in memoriam to John Laurence Frost, ‘35, and sits on 20 acres with 150 varieties of trees. The site was designed by Leslie Kiler, ‘24, to echo the California foothills seen from campus.

Studio-MLA’s renovations focused on creating a sense of place by celebrating the site’s immediate context, the site’s architectural and horticultural assets, and historic features while preserving the visual continuity and natural beauty of this forested site. This included enhancements to the main public entry plaza on Lasuen Mall, the creation of a secondary entrance on the southeast corner of the amphitheater, the design of pathways nestled into the trees, a new access tunnel to provide better access to the seating, areas of respite, places for gathering, a lighting strategy, and a successional planting strategy that reinforces the California foothill ethos.



Stanford University


20 acres


Palo Alto, California



Project team

  • CAW Architects Architect
  • SANDIS Civil Engineer
  • Fischer Dachs Theater Consultant
  • Gale Bate Code Consultant
  • Rutherford + Chekene Structural Engineer