The Music Center at Strathmore, in the suburbs of Washington DC, boasts a beautiful building in a peaceful wooded setting accessible by Metro. The 2,000-seat concert hall is the second home for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra while also offering a wide range of music and dance users, both local and touring. The hall is sized and shaped to combine ample reverberation with acoustic intimacy and presence.

The project includes practice, teaching, and rehearsal rooms in an education wing interconnected with the concert hall. The education spaces can also serve as support spaces for the concert hall.

Over the stage, an array of 43 independently controlled clear acrylic reflectors can be shaped and positioned to create an ideal canopy for each type of musical performance, from large symphonic and choral works to chamber and solo recitals.

Extensive areas of retractable absorption can be deployed along the side, upstage, and rear walls of the hall to control reverberation and reflections for the full range of performance types.

Stage lifts and custom telescoping risers allow the stage to move from a flat floor to a full set of orchestra risers. Pivoting side-walls at the stage create a full 80-foot stage width with wings to accommodate modern dance and ballet.

Movable sound-absorbing elements are concealed behind acoustically transparent metal mesh and perforated metal surfaces, allowing the hall to maintain a consistent visual aesthetic as the acoustics are adjusted.

Audio and video systems include both a high-energy left-center-right sound reinforcement system and a smaller speech reinforcement system integrated with the architectural design so that announcements and narration of orchestral works can be presented without visible loudspeakers. Both systems are designed as discreet extensions of the natural acoustics of the hall.

Project Details
Audiovisual Systems Design
Mechanical Noise Control
Room Acoustics Design
Sound Isolation
Grimm + Parker, Associate Architect, Calverton, MD
William Rawn Associates, Architect, Boston, MA
Theatre Projects Consultants, Theatre Consultant, South Norwalk, CT
196,000 gsf
2,000-seat concert hall
2004 Mid-Atlantic Construction Sports & Entertainment Project of the Year 2004 AIA Northern Virginia Award of Excellence for Institutional Architecture 2004 AIA Maryland Honor Award 2005 Buildings Magazine New Construction Awards, Honorable Mention