Dedicated to the Master of Fine Arts program, the new 24,000-square-foot facility located on the first and second floors of Abbott Hall, was designed to combine performance and instruction spaces, featuring multi-use black box spaces, a lobby and gallery space, teaching studios, a computer media lab, a design studio, a seminar room, a green room, dressing rooms, and administrative offices. The main Performance Black Box duplicates as a Film Screening room and has a retractable seating system.

Designing a performing arts center within the exiting footprint and ceiling heights and maintaining the critical acoustic separation between the spaces while respecting the structural limitations of the building, was one of the major challenges of the design.

The black box rooms have been treated with custom absorptive and diffusive panels to provide a clear and supportive acoustic environment for the performers and audience.

With views to the Lakeshore, the lobby area which also serves as an informal performance has been treated with acoustic clouds to control loudness buildup and to provide a comfortable environment for conversations.

Kirkegaard has designed the audio and video systems in collaboration with the University, including the systems for the Film Screening.

Project Details
Audiovisual Systems Design
Mechanical Noise Control
Room Acoustics Design
Sound Isolation
Holabird & Root, Chicago, IL
Schuler Shook, Chicago, IL
Performance Black Box - 76 seats