Penn State University College of Arts & Architecture Master Plan

Design Achievement - Situated between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania State University is a major cultural center in central Pennsylvania. The College of Arts and Architecture encompasses academic programs in theater, music, dance, visual arts, art history, architecture, and landscape architecture. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky’s 20-year master plan for the College creates a recognizable, multi-disciplinary arts district within the campus. The plan increases the visibility of the arts programs via strategic programmatic placement within the campus and transparency of performance and making environments; resolves program and facility deficiencies for drama, music, and visual arts spaces; and co-locates programs to engender inter-disciplinary arts learning and research. Overall, the plan broadly defines the University’s future facility needs and develops conceptual plans to meet these goals. It consolidates programs allowing for the reduction in energy costs and reserves valuable real estate for future programming.

Scope summary – The master plan encompassed 926,000 GSF and 27 buildings. The plan considered the number and type of performance, rehearsal, and support spaces for music and theater and the co-location of the School of Music and the School of Theatre to enhance synergies for opera and musical theater. Space considerations addressed recital and concert halls, including instrument storage and practice rooms; the Downtown Theatre Center, Playhouse Theatre, and Pavilion Theatre; load-in, costuming, and scene and paint shops; and classrooms and offices. The project also involved the assessment and planning of the expansion of the School of Visual Arts and the Palmer Museum of Art; the dismantling of the Arts Cottage; the creation of fabrication shops and emerging technology labs (MAKE labs); and the renovation of the Eisenhower and Schwab Auditoriums. Careful deliberation was given to creating order of magnitude costs, phasing, and implementation options. The master plan aligns with an action plan to reduce carbon emissions from utility sources, resulting in an infrastructure vision of no net increase in energy consumption, even with an increase in program area of 250,000 SF. DLR Group|WRL provided master planning, architecture, MEP and structural engineering, sustainable design, theatrical, and audiovisual design services. 

DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.

Awards & Recognition

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  • Citation Award for Unbuilt Work

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Ohio
  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland

Penn State University College of Arts & Architecture Master Plan

Penn State University