Constructing the concrete structure continues to be the principal activity — work that includes installing forms, setting reinforcing steel bars ("rebar"), setting sleeves for piping that will pass through the floor, installing electrical conduits, pumping and spreading the concrete to encapsulate the rebar, and "finishing" the concrete (smoothing out the top surface of the concrete to make it level). Work on construction of the fifth (and final!) floor began on May 8 and was completed about a week later. The roof should be finished by the end of the month of May.
Erection of the steel structure that will become the roof of the Galvin Recital Hall begins around May 20 and will take about 15 days. The catwalk will then be brought in sections, laid on the floor of the hall and raised into place, under the roof. The concrete will be placed about the 3rd week of June. See below for a video of the construction of the hall.
Also in May and June, workers will begin "joining" the north and south sections of the building, which are currently separate structures. Presently the building consists of two structures. i.e. a north and south structure with a void in between. (See the 360-degree photo below.) The floors connecting them will be supported by structural steel and metal deck. This work takes place between early May and the end of June.
The building's façade, currently concrete, will eventually be limestone. Installation of the limestone will begin in May with the east and north side of the opera space. By the beginning of July, they will begin installing the limestone on the exterior of Galvin Recital Hall.
Installation of the "curtainwall" (see video and explanation below) will begin in mid-June, with work on the east end of the third floor. Work on the building's' massive glass wall and skylight that defines the lobby area will begin by the end of the summer. Installation of the final roof will begin in mid-September.
In February 2008, Northwestern University announced plans for a new music building. A design competition followed, with proposals sent to 25 architectural firms and Chicago-based Goettsch Partners was eventually selected as the winner.
On May 18, 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony celebration was held on the site of the future building, and on June 20, construction work began. The new building is projected to be ready for occupancy in Fall 2015. The building’s design will emphasize sustainability, and the structure is expected to receive certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.
The design calls for a limestone base supporting an exterior that is primarily glass — taking maximum advantage of the site’s lakefront location and views of the Chicago skyline. The building will integrate completely with the existing Regenstein Hall of Music, with two connections between the buildings on each of Regenstein’s three levels. (Regenstein will remain functional throughout the construction period.)
The building’s main entrance will open onto a soaring glass atrium, with lounge and reception areas offering views of the lake and downtown Chicago. In addition, the atrium will serve as the lobby for a 400-seat recital hall, where the stage’s back wall will be made of glass to provide a view of the lake and the Chicago skyline. Kirkegaard Associates — the world-renowned acoustical design firm whose president, Lawrence Kirkegaard, designed the acoustics for Pick-Staiger Concert Hall — will assist in designing the recital hall’s interior. Also slated for the building’s main floor are a black-box opera theater/rehearsal space, a choral rehearsal/recital room and classrooms. All will have exterior windows, as will the classrooms on the building’s lower level, which is not completely below grade.
Although elevators will connect all the building’s levels, the atrium floor will also connect to the second level by way of ceremonial stairs. Bienen school offices for admission and financial aid, student affairs, career services, IT support and web communication will be located on the second level. Practice rooms and faculty studios and offices will occupy the remainder of the second level as well as most of the third level.
Offices of the dean, associate deans and other administrative staff will be located on the fourth level. A fifth level is planned to meet University needs other than music.
Practice rooms in Regenstein and the new building will total 140, a net gain of 55 over the current total of 95 in Regenstein, the Music Administration Building, and Music Practice Hall (the “Beehive”). All practice rooms and faculty studios will be soundproofed.
The Bienen School’s new building represents a major commitment on the part of the donors who will make this construction possible and the University administration. Faculty, staff, and students will continue to be part of the planning process as the school’s long-awaited dream moves toward reality.