Curtis is one of the world’s leading music conservatories and is unique in that it has provided merit-based, tuition-free scholarships to all its exceptionally gifted students since 1928.
When Curtis started exploring possibilities for expanding their facilities to include additional music education spaces and add student residences, they involved Kirkegaard in the assessment of planned uses, feasibility, and cost. The solution was to replace the Locust Club building positioned one block down Locust Street with a new building from the ground up while preserving two historical façades. The culmination is Lenfest Hall, a multi-use music education and student residence facility designed by award-winning Philadelphia architects, Venturi Scott Brown and Associates. The Philadelphia Inquirer has noted that it is “a remarkable achievement of culture-and, in key places, quiet. Lenfest Hall (opened in 2011) on time, several million dollars under budget, and fully funded.”
The expansion, situated in the historical Rittenhouse Square district of Philadelphia with Curtis’ other facilities, provides Gould Rehearsal Hall for the Curtis Symphony Orchestra; 32 additional teaching studios, chamber music rehearsal rooms, and practice rooms; audio and video recording studios; an orchestra library; and the orchestral instrument collection, which houses over two hundred string instruments and bows and approximately fifty wind and brass instruments, including exotic and less-traditional instruments, all requiring special attention to HVAC systems for ensuring their preservation. Lenfest provides safe, affordable residences for half the student body, all in close proximity to Curtis’ existing facilities. Amenities include dining and social spaces and an outdoor roof terrace, all of which are shared among students, faculty, and staff.
Kirkegaard provided acoustics and building services noise/vibration control consulting throughout Lenfest Hall’s development from programming to project completion. Since the building had to accommodate simultaneous music-making at many rooms and student practice at any hour of the night while others are sleeping, the building’s exceptional requirements for sound isolation between rooms and at the building exterior demanded Kirkegaard’s careful attention to nearly every design detail and construction process. The project has achieved LEED Gold Certified status and won numerous awards.