The Pennsylvania State University | New Recital Hall and Music 1 Building Renovations
Higher Education Performing Arts

The Pennsylvania State University | University Park, PA

New Recital Hall and Music 1 Building Renovations

59,140 sq. ft. | $22.1 million | October 2018

“Building a perfect acoustic Recital Hall as our prime directive, every design aspect had to meet or exceed that standard in order to build a “jewel for the arts at Penn State.” That meant everything incorporated in the concert hall had to operate in silence and not impede the sophisticated acoustic design. Barton Associates provided innovative solutions to the challenges. We have a stunningly beautiful concert hall that truly has an unmatched sound and lighting design.” – Russell Bloom, Assistant Director / Penn State School of Music

Barton Education provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and architectural lighting design services to establish a new 14,580 square-foot “vineyard-style” recital hall addition to the existing 1960s-era Music 1 Building for the Penn State School of Music. The acoustically-ideal recital hall holds more than 400 seats and supports up to a 50-piece orchestra in an intimate ‘seating-in-the-round’ arrangement. The Architect’s primary goal was to provide a clean-minimalistic design meant to keep all eyes focused on the performance. This is a relatively common goal for concert venues however this project included a unique twist – exposed catwalks. Coupled with the University’s request for an acoustically-perfect environment illuminated by energy-efficient lighting and a detailed focus on ease of maintenance, the project required an innovative approach to the architectural lighting and MEP design.

In addition, the project added multiple support spaces including a Green Room, public restrooms, and an expanded lobby with box office to the existing 44,560 square-foot building. The renovation project also created a large ensemble rehearsal hall to serve as both a concert preparation space and as a much-needed classroom to support a vibrant performing arts program. The University is pursuing LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for this project.

Barton is honored to have received a 2019 Award of Merit for Architectural Lighting Design from the Philadelphia Illuminating Engineering Society(IES).

photos courtesy of Russell Bloom


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