Northwestern Music Building by Goettsch Partners

Architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) has designed the signature building that will be the new home of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and provide additional space for the School of Communication on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

Located just south of the school’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and connecting with the Regenstein Hall of Music, the building enables the Bienen School to consolidate its programs for the first time in more than 35 years.

The new 152,000-square-foot building features a 400-seat recital hall, a 150-seat opera rehearsal room/black box theater and a 2,400-square-foot choral rehearsal room and library. The project also includes classrooms, teaching labs, faculty offices, studios, practice rooms, student lounges and administrative offices. The building design emphasizes a sustainable approach throughout, with a minimum goal of LEED Silver certification targeted.

A large atrium defines the main entry, creating a feature space for public events, connecting the academic and performance functions, and offering clear views that slice through the building. The showcase facility is the recital hall, an intimate, two-level space with undulating walls of wood that provide optimal acoustics and lead to the stage, as well as a 50-foot-high wall of cable-supported, double-skin glass. During performances, this backdrop will feature dramatic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

An integral part of the project is the new Music and Arts Green. Connecting the Block Museum, the Theatre and Interpretation Center, and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall with the new music building, this landscape centerpiece helps create a cohesive arts complex. The 120-foot-wide, pedestrian-friendly green provides a new gateway for the complex while also defining a setting for special events and passive recreation.

The project is slated to be completed and ready for move-in in fall 2015. For more information, visit