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Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO)

Project Information

Client

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra

Location

Madison, WI

Size

40,085 SF

Sector

Performing & Cultural Arts

Services

Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Plumbing Design, Construction Administration, AV Design, Controls, Low Voltage

Experts

AIA, LEED AP ID+C, WELL AP

President | Chief Executive Officer

AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, WI Real Estate Broker

Executive Vice President | Director of Project Management

CDT, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP

Director of Construction Administration and Specifications

AIA, NCARB

Senior Vice President | Director of Design Visualization | Design Manager

MBA. WRID, ASID

Executive Vice President | Director of Interior Design

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Objective:

Making a Masterpiece

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra’s (WYSO) new 40,085 SF rehearsal and performance space serves not only as an iconic cultural gem for the city of Madison but a cutting-edge educational facility for young budding musicians. The building features three state-of-the-art rehearsal halls, eight studios, nine practice rooms, administrative offices, and a music library.

More than 500 young musicians aged 5-18 participate in WYSO. After years of growth and practice in schools, churches, and parking lots, this building is the first permanent space they can call their own. The facility was designed to hold all WYSO’s current orchestra and Music Makers students—with room to grow. Executive Director of WYSO, Bridget Fraser described the future music center as a triumphant new day for WYSO moving forward.

Solution:

A Symphony of Shape

The striking design of the WYSO music center is inspired by the shapes of musical instruments. Sweeping curved roofs reflect the contour of a cello and the landscaped gardens mirror the shape of a bell and trumpet. Ceiling patterns and acoustic panels echo the shape of sound waves. The copper material used throughout the building imitates a timpani drum.

The large rehearsal halls each hold a 100-musician orchestra with balconies that offer viewers the opportunity for bird-eye observation. Because acoustics were of central importance, the building implements creative sound design in order to block busy street noise and isolate sound within each hall. 

Local Wisconsin materials were also used as a source of inspiration and the exterior was sourced from local Wisconsin limestone. The building also meets energy efficiency best practices, satisfies Madison rain-water-runoff goals, and includes a partial green roof.