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Yale School of Music – Adams Center for Musical Arts

New Haven, Connecticut


KPMB Architects, Architect, Toronto, Canada

Project Description

The Adams Center for the Musical Arts provides the teaching, practice, and rehearsal facilities that the Yale School of Music needed to carry their program into the future. The new building at the heart of the Adams Center links two historic buildings that the School of Music had occupied for many years – Hendrie Hall, a handsome Renaissance Revival law school from 1895, and Leigh Hall, a cozy 1930 Gothic Revival health center. Kirkegaard Associates worked with Butler Rogers Baskett on the 2005 renovation of Leigh Hall (used for teaching studios, offices, and classrooms) and with KPMB on the renovation and addition to Hendrie Hall that created the Adams Center.

KPMB unearthed the natural beauty of Hendrie, restoring the central stair and entry corridor and subtly renovating the Yale Glee Club’s well-liked rehearsal room, improving its isolation to the street and to the Yale Band’s rehearsal room above. The Yale Band room was transformed by a new skylight and revised acoustic finishes. The rest of the building was completely reconfigured with teaching studios, an opera rehearsal room, and a whole floor of practice rooms. The new classrooms in the building are deliberately designed to do double duty as ensemble rehearsal rooms.

A new stair tower and elevator was tucked into a light well, making the split-level building fully accessible for the first time. New HVAC systems use chilled beams for quiet, energy-efficient performance.

The five-story addition nearly doubles the size of Hendrie. The heart of the Adams Center is a four-story atrium/lounge that gives the students a central gathering place around its fireplace and easy access to the nearby practice rooms. The percussion and brass faculty have their rehearsal rooms and teaching studios in the new addition, where heavy concrete structure provides excellent isolation.

The jewel of the Adams Center is an elegant new orchestra rehearsal room, with a warm, clear acoustic and ample natural light. The room includes movable sound absorbing panels that can be deployed behind wood grilles. KA designed a playback/amplification system, built-in video projector, and movable video cameras so the room can easily support distance learning and streaming. Virtually silent background noise and excellent isolation allow the room to be used for high-quality recordings.

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