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View of double height hallway with floor to ceiling windows to courtyard, left, Music Commons with mixed seating and balcony, right
The Ohio State University Arts District Buildings

Welcoming the Community to Campus Through the Arts

Project Location

Columbus, OH


The Ohio State University


400,000 SF


Architecture, engineering, interiors, acoustics, lighting design, technology design, theater design

The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as OSU, one of the nation’s top public universities, sought to create high-quality learning environments for interaction across all arts disciplines. An initial two-year master planning and programming process led by our team in collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern Architects, commonly referred to as RAMSA, expanded and consolidated the University’s Arts District.

The team’s design of the initial phase of implementation concentrated the Timashev Family Music Building and the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts Building into new sister buildings that share the same architectural DNA.

Standing shoulder to shoulder at the threshold between city and campus, the forms greet and engage passersby at OSU’s main pedestrian entry. With performance and production spaces arranged to expose their interiors to the street and shared arts plaza, the design invites all to participate in the artistic endeavors within. Shared spaces provide opportunities for cross-pollination. Social spaces spanning the entire frontage of both buildings manifest as an architectural scaffold, an organizing element that reflects a similar feature at the University’s iconic Wexner Center for the Arts. Massing organized around large music and theater venues allows upper floors of each building to benefit from natural perimeter light and to house double-height volumes for moving image production sound stages and acting/rehearsal studios.

The project includes an addition to OSU’s Weigel Concert Hall with minimal renovations to existing rehearsal spaces and an update to the lobby as the connecting joint to the new Timashev School of Music Building. Along with this 8,000-SF renovation, the two buildings add nearly 196,500 SF of new arts program comprising a 400-seat proscenium theater, a 130-seat thrust theater, a 200-seat recital hall, a sound stage, and other spaces designed specifically for music, moving image production, and theater education. Exterior windows within performance spaces are acoustically rated and have blackout capabilities. The recital hall features warm woods that envelope the audience in diffused sound and clerestories that allow light to fall into the hall. Music from the recital hall can be piped into the shared arts plaza and visual media can be projected on the south wall of the Department of Theatre, also adjoining the plaza.

The design follows the University’s Green Building and Energy Policy standards.

Multi-Discipline Interaction

Shared spaces and the deliberate use of glass provide opportunities for cross-pollination across all disciplines, while inclusive solutions enhance accessibility for differently abled students.

Opportunities for Cross-Pollination

Transparent and Immersive Arts Experience

The Timashev Family Music Building’s interior corridor is described as an ‘interior street,’ with an expansive lobby that stretches along the facade, offering convenient access for students from various parts of campus. This not only encourages engagement among students from diverse disciplines, but also invites non-arts students to witness and partake in the dynamic activities within.

Additionally, deliberate use of large expanses of glass in different areas of the internal structure enables outsiders to catch glimpses of spaces like the rehearsal hall, lobby, plaza, as well as technical areas like the costume studio and scene shop. This transparency enriches the immersive arts experience for both students and the community.

Equity in the Arts

Creating Space for Everyone

Within the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts Building, we implemented inclusive solutions to enhance accessibility for differently abled students. The catwalk, which is typically only reachable by ladder, is now accessible via an elevator and has ample space to accommodate wheelchair access. These modifications and design decisions collectively create a more inclusive and open space for everyone.


2023 Merit Award – Interior Architecture Category

AIA Cleveland

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