BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management


New Construction Awards 2005: Building Harmony

Honorable Mention: The Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD


Specialty Spaces Winner: Boston Convention Center, Boston
Addition to Existing Facility Winner: South Tower Addition, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Royal Oak, MI
Private/Corporate Winner: City Center West, Madison, WI
Public/Government Winner: Worcester State College’s Wasylean Hall, Worcester, MA
Honorable Mention: The Music Center at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD

Honorable Mention: 25 Channel Center, Boston

New Construction Team
Owner: Montgomery County; Strathmore Hall Foundation
General Contractor: Clark Construction
Project Manager: Tishman Construction Corp.
Acoustician: R. Lawrence Kirkegaard & Associates
Theatre Designer: Theatre Projects Consultants
Architects: Grimm & Parker Architects; William Rawn Associates
Structural Consultant: LeMessurier Consultants
Engineer Consultants: TMP Consultant Engineers

Products Used
Blinds/Window Treatments: MechoShade
Building Controls: Siemens
Doors: Buell Door
Façade: Jurastone; Modern Mosaic
Floorcoverings: Capital Carpet
Hardware: Corbin Russwin; Schlage; Von Duprin
HVAC: ABB; Baltimore Aircoil Co.; Siemens; Trane
Insulation: Dow Corning
Life Safety/Security: SimplexGrinnell
Lighting: Lightolier
Paint: Benjamin Moore; Duron Paints and Wallcoverings; Sherwin-Williams
Roofing: Johns Manville; Sarnafil
Signage: Forms+Surfaces
Structural: Aggregate Industries
Walls/Partitions: USG
Window Film/Solar Shading: Levolor
Windows/Glass: Viracon

Lists are not all-inclusive

Hoping to create a “community of music” in North Bethesda, MD, the members of the Montgomery County Council, along with the Strathmore Hall Foundation, commissioned Tishman Construction Corp. to construct The Music Center at Strathmore. Completed in February 2005, the 190,000-square-foot Music Center (containing a concert hall and education center) boasts two world-class music facilities that not only connect patrons with performers, but also one generation with the next.

The outstanding structures don’t actually “stand out,” but rather sit comfortably beside Strathmore Hall (a historic 1914 mansion) and imitate the surrounding rolling hills with the center’s unique undulating roof.

To compete with other exceptional facilities, the $89-million Music Center needed the latest acoustical technology. Although almost every element of construction was built with acoustical capabilities in mind, the critical acoustical features in the hall and practice studios included:

  • Isolated walls on floating track systems.
  • Floors supported by neoprene pads.
  • Ceilings suspended on spring isolators.
  • The precise positioning and angling of the walls, roof, and ceiling.
  • Sound-absorbing curtains behind panels along the walls of the hall.
  • Banners above the ceiling that can be deployed or retracted.
  • A sloped ceiling, with the highest point over the audience, to maximize acoustical volume.
  • Forty-three individually controlled acrylic reflector panels over the stage to fine-tune clarity and reverberation.
  • Noiseless cooling through registers notched into the hardwood floor at every seat.

Along with superior sound quality, designers William Rawn Associates and Grimm & Parker Architects set out to create an intimate concert hall setting that would connect patrons with performers. The 1,976 seats were positioned to “hug” the stage by linking side galleries with audience and chorus seating.

The education center was also intentionally designed with a sense of community in mind; four expansive rehearsal spaces are often used by the public. The education center not only involves the area’s patrons, but more specifically, encourages the next generation of musicians to fulfill the Strathmore Hall Foundation’s mission statement as posted on its website: “The Strathmore Hall Foundation nurtures art, artists, and community through creative and diverse programming of the highest quality.”

Lauren M. Wylly served as editorial intern at Buildings magazine.


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