ED lab INC
Robin Randall

Mary Baker Russell Music Center

“Musical Campus Connection”

Architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership,
Seattle Office
Project Designer: Robin Randall
Photography:Pete Eckert, Eckert
& Eckert Photography
Client: Pacific Lutheran University

Completed in 1992
Science of Learning:
The heavily wooded, sloping site of the music center separates the upper and lower campuses of the university. The music center, its public spaces and courtyard, are designed to function as the central stair connecting learners from both campuses. The configuration of the music center is an assemblage of three distinct envelopes, producing a clear and economic organization of teaching, rehearsal and performance activities.

Language of Nature:
This composition also permits the complex to be manipulated to conform to the existing slope and retain a majority of the fir and oak trees that occupy the site. The first component is the teaching wing with individual practice and faculty studios, the second is a structure containing the rehearsal studios for choirs, bands and orchestras and the third is the 534 seat Lagerquist Concert Hall. A sloping natural amphitheater forms in the courtyard surrounded by studios, practice rooms and a multistory lobby and staircase.

Art of Innovation:
The architecture is modest, its materials simple brick and precast, and its details direct and minimal. Acoustical performance is critical, especially given the site’s proximity to an adjacent military air base. Extra mass was added to the roof and walls to isolate the interior of the hall from external noise. Inside the concert hall, the amount of reflective surface is maximized and sound absorptive panels are raised and lowered to accommodate variable acoustic needs, depending on the type of performance.