Architecture firm chosen for new music building

Olivia Wainhouse

Five stories. $90 million. 116,000 square feet. Another step in the 113-year history of Northwestern’s School of Music.

The architectural company Goettsch Partners has been chosen to design a new building for the music school.

For the first time in 35 years, the School of Music plans to consolidate all of its programs in one $90 million building, to be completed by 2012.

Goettsch Partners has worked on various Chicago projects, including the Museum of Science and Industry’s U-505 Submarine Exhibit, the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Regenstein Center for Africa Apes, 111 South Wacker and the UBS Tower. Goettsch Partners also designed the new Abu Dhabi stock exchange, the financial center in the United Arab Emirates, and the Diamond Exchange Tower in Shanghai.

“This project presents an exceptional opportunity for our firm,” said James Goettsch, president of Goettsch Partners, in a press release. “Northwestern has set high expectations in terms of the architectural design of the new building and arts green.”

Joseph Baldwin, a Music sophomore, is a student representative on the new music building committee. He recognizes the importance of such a building in fixing the split music community.

“Students take classes in (the) Music Administration Building. Instrumental students go to Regenstein Hall by the lake and Pick-Staiger. Voice and piano majors are at MAB and everyone else is at Regenstein,” Baldwin said. “It is really exciting that for once in many years we will all be in the same place and work toward a common goal.”

The building will be located on the Arts Circle and will have “spectacular views of the lakefront and the Chicago Skyline,” according to School of Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery, in a press release.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2010.

“Most of the students that are currently in this program will not see the building, but we all realize the impact this new building will have,” Baldwin said.

The building will be located south of Regenstein and Pick-Staiger, facing Lake Michigan. Plans for the building’s interior include classrooms, teaching labs, student lounges and teaching studios. There will also be a choral library and a black box theater.

The building will double the number of practice rooms available on campus. It will also have a recital hall with 400 seats, serving as a complement to Pick-Staiger.

Assistant Dean Linda Garton said that everyone seems very excited about what the new building will have to offer for the School of Music.

“I think the most exciting thing for everybody is that we’ll all be in the same place,” she said.

When the new building is completed, the School of Music will stop using the Music Administration Building, the Music Practice Building and Lutkin Hall and move to this central location. It is unclear what the function of these old buildings will be once the new building is complete.

“This is something that many of us have asked for, for some time,” Baldwin said, “and just the fact that it’s happening right now is incredible.”

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