For two decades, Kirkegaard worked closely with Bora and the faculty and leadership of Michigan State’s College of Music to work out a comprehensive roadmap for improving their facilities. Their 1940s music building and adjacent 1970s practice room tower both suffered from compromised acoustic isolation and thermal comfort, with rooms that were smaller than ideal in both height and footprint. Our guiding principle was to adapt existing rooms for activities that they could naturally support, renovating them where necessary, while shifting more demanding activities into new construction.
The first project was a complete transformation of Cook Recital Hall, removing a balcony to capture more volume and inserting quiet air conditioning. Next, an undersized band room became Hollander Hall, a flexible room used regularly for music classes, choral and opera rehearsals and junior recitals. An overloud percussion room became a new recording suite, with connections to all major rooms. Some teaching studios were air conditioned, and a classroom and some practice spaces in the 1970s tower were lightly renovated.
A 38,900 sf addition to the main music building nearly doubled its size. The Billman Pavilion provides four rehearsal rooms, generous in size and filled with natural light, optimized for orchestra, band, percussion and jazz. Murray Hall, the jazz rehearsal room, is also a beautiful performance space for jazz combos. Billman includes a few teaching studios and dozens of practice rooms, many of them built with extra isolation and extra absorption specifically for percussion and jazz.