Penn's New Music Building: An "Ode to Joy" on 34th Street
April 20, 2010
There were baskets filled with souvenir harmonicas for guests at the Open House of the new Music Building on April 16, but people were too busy to play them. Had they done so, it is clear that there would have been a giant performance of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."
• Joy that a world renowned department finally has the facilities it deserves, as noted by SAS Dean Rebecca Bushnell. With three fully equipped classrooms, practice rooms, a modern recording studio, and faculty offices, students now have the spaces they need to compose, practice, study, and socialize. It is a place, says Dean Bushnell, "where the department can thrive in wonderful new ways for many years to come," noting that this was one of the School's Making History Campaign priorities.
• Joy at "the dialogue between historic and contemporary," a fusion described by architect Ann Beha. She reminded the audience that the original building, constructed in 1890 on a site that had been a Civil War orphanage for girls, first housed Physics before becoming a home to Music. It was never quite satisfactory for these pursuits -- and it was closed off to the outside. With renovations and a contemporary addition that doubles the size of the original structure and incorporates large expanses of glass, the building now has a transparency that invites passersby to look inside to the "universal language of music."
• Joy that Penn has its first LEED Silver academic building. As University Architect David Hollenberg explained, not only does it utilize sustainable construction practices, recycled building materials, and green finishes, but its energy-efficient systems ensure that the building will meet sustainability goals for the future. At the same time, the new Music Terrace will link pedestrian walkways and make new connections from the campus core to the new Shoemaker Green and Penn Park.
• Joy at "The Sounds of Silence," with highly effective soundproofing throughout the building, from classrooms, to practice rooms, to common spaces.
Our buildings are the epicenter of living and learning at Penn. Within
their walls we conduct pathbreaking new research, forge lifelong
friendships, enter undiscovered intellectual worlds. As diverse in
style as they are in age, they give our campus its unmistakable
character and identity. Along with the recently renovated spaces at Fisher-Bennett Hall next door, the Music Building promotes a new culture of performance on campus, providing go-to spaces for the thousands of students from across the University who take music courses or participate in performances each year.
The Music Building also joins the wonderful -- and busy -- arts corridor along 34th Street, south of Walnut: Fisher-Bennett Hall (screening rooms, rehearsal space), Meyerson Hall (architecture, city planning, historic preservation), the Morgan Building (graduate fine arts studios), the Fisher Fine Arts Library, the Arthur Ross Gallery, the Kroiz Gallery (architectural archives), and Irvine Auditorium (Penn's "most impressive performance space").
What an "Ode to Joy" on 34th Street!
» more like this in Arts | Buildings | Events | Going Green