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Unveiled> Northwestern School of Music
University's classic stone campus is set for a bold waterfront addition.
Courtesy Goettsch Partners

Northwestern School of Music, Northwestern University
Designer: Goettsch Partners
Client: Northwestern University
Location: Chicago
Completion: 2014

The predominantly limestone campus of Northwestern University is about to get a bold new addition, one that looks to the Evanston Lakefront and back toward the Chicago skyline. The new home of the Bienen School of Music will feature a monumental window that frames views of downtown Chicago, providing a dramatic backdrop for the performers in the recital hall. “Though it’s located in Evanston, the University wanted to underscore the proximity to Chicago, to show students that they are on a world class stage,” said president Jim Goettsch.

The 152,000 square foot building includes a 400-seat recital hall, a 150-seat performance room for opera, and a 2400 square foot rehearsal room and library, as well as offices and classrooms. A large atrium space will serve as a pre-event gathering space connecting the various halls.

The Z-shaped plan and the glass and steel cladding will make the building a contemporary presence on campus, as well as a highly visible public face for the Evanston and greater Chicago community. Located near the dance, theatre, and other fine and performing arts facilities, the Bienen School completes an “arts circle” at the university, with a broad, accessible lawn in front that also includes Lakefront access.

Alan G. Brake