The Cowles Music Center greatly expanded the music facilities at Whitworth University while renovating the existing building. The 2-story expansion added large rehearsal/performance spaces for choral, instrumental, and percussion along with teaching studios, practice rooms, recording room, classroom, conference spaces, and offices. A new lobby dubbed "Main Street" gracefully connects new to existing through an open volume that unifies spaces together via expansive glazing and shared natural light, exposed steel and wood timber structure, and previously-exterior brick facade preserved and now exposed to the lobby interior.
The instrumental and choral spaces use shaped wood paneling, sloped ceiling reflectors, and rough masonry combined with adjustable sound-absorbing drapery and panels to vary room reverberation while maintaining acoustically supportive environments throughout their full range of uses. Throughout the addition, systems for conditioned air, lighting, and other building services seamlessly integrate noise/vibration control design approaches to provide quiet, background noise levels appropriate for music uses.
The recording room connects to all three rehearsal/performance spaces for audio/visual monitoring and recording. The system includes both analog and Dante audio network connections to recording equipment as well as video cameras and audio talkback systems to speed communications. Architecturally-integrated treatments for diffusion, absorption, and bass control provide a clean room sound for mixing, playback, and editing.
The project has since received a 2017 Merit Award from the AIA Washington Council and a 2017 Excellence in Masonry Award from the Masonry Industry Promotion Group.