In late 2007, I wrote a lighthearted (or was it?) dig at Northwestern University and the sorry state of their music facilities:
Though I doubt that there’s a connection here, I like to think that I did my part in getting the word out about this state of affairs and, if nothing else, gave the institution a little extra incentive to make some kind of formal announcement:
Northwestern to Build New Music Building
EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern University will construct a $90 million School of Music building on the lakefront of its Evanston campus, Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen announced today. Envisioned as a signature building for the University, the new facility will enable the School of Music to consolidate all of its programs in one area for the first time in more than 35 years.
The new music building will be located just south of the School’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and Regenstein Hall of Music on the southern end of Northwestern’s lakefront campus. The structure is projected to be five stories tall with spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.
With approximately 116,000 gross squarefeet, the new building will include classrooms, teaching labs, academic faculty offices, teaching studios for choral, opera, piano and voice faculty, practice rooms, student lounges and administrative offices. There also will be choral rehearsal room and library, an opera rehearsal room/black box theater and a 400-seat recital hall.
Northwestern School of Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery said, “This is a momentous occasion in the 113-year history of the School of Music. The new building will strengthen our position as one of the nation’s premier schools of music by providing state-of-the-art facilities for our talented students and outstanding faculty. The project also will foster a greater sense of community between our academic and performance departments. I am grateful to President Bienen for his extraordinary commitment to this initiative.
The architect for the new music building will be chosen via a competition among a small number of firms experienced in designing performing arts facilities and signature buildings. The architect will be selected by summer 2008, with construction scheduled to begin in late 2009. The facility is expected to be completed in spring 2012.
As the building is being completed, work is slated to begin on a new Music and Arts Green to the west of the building that will provide a 120-foot wide pedestrian-friendly green space. This dramatic new gateway to the new music building and the fine arts area will provide a major open space amenity that can become a focal point for special events and passive recreation. The green space will improve pedestrian safety and circulation significantly while still allowing vehicular access to the current buildings. The outstanding views of the lake and Chicago from that area will be preserved.
President Bienen said, “I am delighted that the University will realize its goal of creating a centralized ‘music village’ for our faculty, students and programs and enhance the facilities for our students and faculty. We will continue to raise funds for the facility as plans for it move forward.”
When the new building is completed, the School of Music will vacate three facilities currently used by the school: the Music Administration Building at 711 Elgin Road, built in 1874; the Music Practice Building, a small facility near the Music Administration Building that was completed in 1915; and Lutkin Hall, a 400-seat performance/lecture venue built in 1941 at 700 University Place. Northwestern has not yet determined what those facilities will be used for at that time.
The Northwestern University School of Music is one of the oldest degree-granting music schools in the United States, combining the resources of a world-class private research university with conservatory-level music training. The school is home to 640 undergraduate and graduate students and a world-renowned faculty of more than 125, many of whom are members of the Chicago Symphony and Chicago Lyric Opera orchestras. School of Music alumni are found in major arts institutions and universities worldwide, in performance, teaching, and arts administration.