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Exterior view at night of University of Nevada, Reno University Arts Building
University of Nevada, Reno University Arts Building

Varied Arts Spaces Support a Vibrant Arts Community

Project Location

Reno, NV

Program

Recital hall, recording studios, art museum, and more

Services

Architecture, Interior Design, Theatrical Design, ITDG, Audiovisual, Acoustics

Awards

AIA Nevada, 2019 Merit Award

The University of Nevada, Reno believes an exceptional arts program provides students with an inspirational facility. This new addition complements the existing Church Fine Arts Complex, which was designed in 1962 by renowned Modernist architect Richard Neutra. Engaging the topography of the site, the design forms an active outdoor plaza that links to campus pedestrian walkways and preserves a large grass hill.

The addition efficiently addresses circulation, loading, access, and building structure, maximizing net buildable space. Daylight utilization expands to rehearsal, performance, and maker spaces. The design allows for premier acoustics through smart program organization – separating spaces along the length of the building with sensitivity to how the building systems impact background noise. The building features a 287-seat recital hall, art museum, fabrication lab, electro-acoustic composition lab, soundproof rehearsal spaces, music practice rooms, faculty offices, and a recording studio. Building systems were designed around energy efficiency, to LEED NC Silver standards, and the building’s unique acoustic needs. We provided architecture; interiors; electrical engineering; acoustics; audiovisual; information transport; life safety & security; lighting; and theater technical design services.

Floorplan showing lobby, recital hall, art gallery, and bridge at the University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

Tour the Building

Our design utilizes a multi-tiered lobby to connect the plaza, street, and bridge levels.

Explore

Floorplan showing lobby, recital hall, art gallery, and bridge at the University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

Lobby

upper lobby area with double height windows looking out to campus at the University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

A second-level mezzanine lobby's floor to ceiling glass overlooks the campus. Students are immersed in the arts with views into the museum spaces, near the recital hall.

Recital Hall

recital hall with state of the art acoustic tuning at the University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

The narrow bowl shape creates reverberation and the effect of being enveloped by sound. The room can be tuned and adjusted for reverb time without impacting the warm wood aesthetic.

Rehearsal

The new building expertly utilizes daylighting into much-needed rehearsal and practice rooms.

Bridge

exterior elevation of bridge and courtyard at University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

The exterior of the building makes a statement on campus, drawing the community in to immerse in both physical and performative art.

Lobby

upper lobby area with double height windows looking out to campus at the University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

A second-level mezzanine lobby's floor to ceiling glass overlooks the campus. Students are immersed in the arts with views into the museum spaces, near the recital hall.

Recital Hall

recital hall with state of the art acoustic tuning at the University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

The narrow bowl shape creates reverberation and the effect of being enveloped by sound. The room can be tuned and adjusted for reverb time without impacting the warm wood aesthetic.

Rehearsal

The new building expertly utilizes daylighting into much-needed rehearsal and practice rooms.

Bridge

exterior elevation of bridge and courtyard at University of Nevada Reno University Arts Building

The exterior of the building makes a statement on campus, drawing the community in to immerse in both physical and performative art.

Design's Impact

A profound impact on students at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Exceptional Program

The University Arts Building successfully tackles many complex issues and houses a range of arts programs, including a recital hall, recording studio, electro acoustic laboratory, rehearsal and practice rooms, art museum, and fabrication lab.

01
Topography

Engaging the Site

The outdoor plaza links to campus pedestrian walkways and preserves a large grass hill. A raised walkway connects the original Church Fine Arts building with the new facility, bridging the University’s legacy with its newest chapter of expanded visual and performing arts programs.

East and South elevations of the University of Nevada, Reno University Arts Building

The new addition efficiently deals with circulation, loading, access, and building structure.

actual south elevation at the University of Nevada, Reno University Arts Building

It engages the topography of the site in a way that creates an active outdoor area.

02
Spatial Connection

Multitiered Lobby Connects Three Levels

Upon entering the University Arts Building, visitors are greeted by a multitiered lobby, connecting to the plaza, street, and bridge levels, and serving as a hub and showcase for performance, display, and learning.

Student walking through art gallery space with open atrium and floor to ceiling windows at the University of Nevada, Reno University Arts Building

Natural daylight and expansive windows provides visual and physical connection.

Staircase leading from first floor makerspace to second floor art gallery at the University of Nevada, Reno University Arts Building

The Fabrication Lab in bottom right, exposes the making from within and encourages collaboration with other departments.

03
Enhanced Acoustics

Diffusive Wood Paneling Enhances Acoustics

The hall’s narrow bowl shape creates reverberation and the effect of being enveloped by sound. Lower wooden walls in the space are highly diffusive, broadcasting sound in many directions; upper side walls conceal variable acoustic drapery and acoustic diffusive panels.

Auditorium at University of Nevada - Reno, University Arts Building

The recital hall’s wraparound balcony affords audiences a unique perspective and can also provide students closer views of musician hand positions and conductor gestures.

students practicing in rehearsal studio with wood angled sound panels on the walls and white acoustic sound panels on the ceiling at University of Nevada, Reno

To accommodate a variety of performance needs, all performance and rehearsal rooms can be tuned using adjustable acoustic drapery panels.

04
Advanced Technology

Embedded for Acoustics

The electroacoustic composition lab, a first-of-its-kind in Nevada, is highly flexible, with embedded technology and infrastructure that allow for a wide array of digital music composition, playback, and enhanced cross-discipline collaboration between musicians and students in video production, visual arts, and engineering. The window into the corridor gives students a chance to see the process live without being in the room, furthering the university’s principle of exposing the arts to a larger audience.

Recording studio with white walls, warm wood acoustic panels, and robust technology for learning at University of Nevada, Reno

Electro acoustic lab and recording studio for students.

maker space with flexible seating and large models at University of Nevada, Reno

Fabrication Lab – Designed as a utilitarian workshop, the lab offers a working area and display area, bound by glass and jutting into the plaza level lobby.

05
Museum

Two Stories Showcase Nevada Art

The Lilley Museum of Art features atmospheric and security protocols necessary to house and display oversized objects, antique and climate-sensitive artworks, and items of significant value, improving the university’s ability to borrow artwork from collectors and museums and to show more works from its permanent collection. The museum's north-facing position allows abundant daylight to enter the upper level and creates a front porch effect at the lower level. At night, the window creates a beacon of light, illuminating the art objects and giving the effect that the building is glowing with artwork.

Two story art gallery with white walls and custom lighting at the University of Nevada, Reno University ARts Building

An extension of the lobby, the museum allows patrons to connect with the art while attending a music performance.

A Vibrant Arts Community

Design Awards

2019 Merit Award

UNR University Arts Building honored by AIA Cleveland.

Regional Best Project, 2019 Award of Merit

Engineering News-Record Southwest

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