Back to all news stories

Performing Arts

U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance reopens Moore Building

A $55 million renovation turned the 143,400-square-foot University of Michigan's Taubman Health Sciences Library facility into all-digital, light-filled, dynamic learning space. Photo courtesy UM Health System.

Brehm Pavilion, new main entrance to Moore Building. Images: Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography

ANN ARBOR—Following a three-year, $29.5 million renovation and expansion, the Earl V. Moore Building on the University of Michigan’s North Campus reopens this fall, providing students at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance a vastly improved facility for music studies.

The 1964 building, originally designed by the renowned mid-century architect Eero Saarinen, will now include the William K. and Delores S. Brehm Pavilion, a new wing that adds 34,000 gross square feet.

Named for the project’s lead donors and longtime U-M supporters William (BS ’50, MS ’52) and Delores Brehm, the new wing houses a welcoming new entrance and lobby, a rehearsal hall for large ensembles, a music technology center, a state-of-the-art lecture hall, a suite of percussion practice rooms and new classrooms,.

In addition to the many new spaces in the Brehm Pavilion, the entire building received substantial renovations resulting in a 25-percent increase in practice rooms; a public commons; significant acoustical, aesthetic and functional improvements to existing rehearsal and performance spaces; and a reconfiguring of faculty offices and studio space to accommodate a music program that has grown exponentially since the original building was first planned in the 1950s.

Kevreson Rehearsal Hall.The transformed facility is expected to improve every aspect of music studies, from practice, rehearsals and performances to lectures, individual studio lessons and the mastering of music and other performing arts technologies.

To celebrate the reopening, SMTD will host a free “Musical Open House” for the public 7-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18. The festivities will include student rehearsals, faculty performances and brief lectures throughout the building to showcase the new and newly enhanced performance, learning and rehearsal spaces. The Moore Building is located at 1100 Baits Drive, Ann Arbor.

“This is truly a historic moment for our school,” said Aaron Dworkin, dean of SMTD. “The Moore Building is reclaiming its place as one of the country’s finest facilities for the study of music, and will again match the excellence of our faculty and students. I am enormously grateful to my predecessor, Dean Christopher Kendall, for expertly shepherding this project through to fruition, and to our many donors, led by the incomparable Bill and Dee Brehm, whose generosity and vision have inspired so many in the planning and execution of this tremendous project.

“The reopening of Moore ushers in a very exciting new era at SMTD, with the building contributing critically to the exceptional education of our students, and to enhancing the arts experience of the university and the community.”

This is the second expansion of the Moore Building; the Margaret Dow Towsley Center was added in 1985, providing the school with the McIntosh Theatre and Blanche Anderson Moore Organ Hall.

This latest expansion and renovation, which began in spring 2014, answers the need for more space, accommodating the growth of a music program that added the departments of musical theatre, jazz and performing arts technology over the last half century as the school saw a doubling in faculty and enrollments. It also addresses the ever-growing importance of technology in the field of music, and its use by performing artists of all disciplines as they develop entrepreneurial skills.

The project’s architect of record was Integrated Design Solutions of Troy, Mich., which earned the 2012 AIA Michigan Firm of the Year and was part of the architectural team that renovated and expanded the U-M Museum of Art. The design architect was Ennead Architects LLP of New York City, part of the architectural team that designed U-M’s A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research building and the designer of performing arts projects at Stanford University (Bing Concert Hall), New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, N.Y. Kirkegaard Associates, one of the preeminent acoustic design firms in the country, served as the acousticians.

Renovating the original 121,240-square-foot building and adding a 21,900-square-foot expansion, the design respectfully complements the landmark Eero Saarinen building, giving the complex a new progressive identity and providing the school with state-of-the-art facilities commensurate with its institutional reputation as one of the premier performing arts schools in the U.S.

The university provided a clear analysis of the pre-existing facility and its program. Faculty and students were interviewed to determine what they perceived as their greatest needs moving forward. The design team established the appropriate scope for renovation and new expansion, guided by consensus-driven priorities provided by the school and the acoustical requirements for sound isolation and room acoustics.

Key features of the newly renovated and expanded Moore Building include:

  • Hankinson Rehearsal Hall, designed to accommodate large instrumental ensembles, including the University Symphony Orchestra and University Symphony Band.
  • Soderquist Atrium, a new, welcoming and primary entrance for the Moore Building that offers comfortable space to accommodate audiences that annually attend hundreds of recitals and performances at the building.
  • Glenn E. Watkins Lecture Hall, designed especially for academic lectures, state-of-the-art classroom teaching, and visiting artist and scholar presentations.
  • Bill Brehm Technology Innovation Suite, containing the Chip Davis Technology Studio, a multimedia lab; the suite also includes a control room/surround sound space, workshops, editing labs and machine room.
  • Suite of percussion and jazz percussion practice rooms, teaching studios and rehearsal spaces with advanced acoustical attributes.
  • Renovation of the existing rehearsal hall, now the Carolyn and Milton Kevreson Rehearsal Hall.
  • Renovation of McIntosh Theatre, including technology updates made possible by a gift from the Charles H. Gershenson Trust.
  • A substantial increase in the number of practice rooms, acoustical updates and increased room sizes for the practice wing, now known as the Stephen M. Schwartzberg Practice Wing.
  • An expansive public commons to provide a space with comfortable seating for meetings, studying, eating, collaborating and relaxing.

New classrooms designed with acoustical treatment for academic classes and chamber music rehearsal space.

Added faculty offices and studios for one-on-one student-teacher interactions.

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance extends deep gratitude to the following donors for their generous contributions to the construction of the Brehm Pavilion and the renovation of the Moore Building: William K. and Delores S. Brehm; Cohen Family Fund of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; Chip Davis; Charles H. Gershenson Trust; H. David Kaplan; Milton and Carolyn Kevreson Trust; Herman Miller Cares; James Read; the Schwartzberg family; Glenn E. Watkins; and an anonymous gift in honor of U-M Regent Katherine White.

Story by Marilou Carlin, 734-763-1478, or Sydney Hawkins, 734-615-8765,


More information:

Continue Reading