• Research world class symphony halls to identify important elements of architectural form, materiality, acoustic attributes
  • Visit concert halls and attend a symphony performance. Draw on experiences, location, and poetry to find inspiration.
  • Design a1,600–1,800 seat concert hall on the bayfront site for the Sarasota Symphony Orchestra.


Students conducted research on precedent halls, toured the Straz Center in Tampa, and created laser-cut palimpsests inspired by poems. They then drew on these experiences to craft 6 possible architectural designs for a new bayfront concert hall.


Designed specifically for its location overlooking the water, the Response concert hall (PDF) is focused carefully on siting and function. Each of the 4 sides presents a different experience responding to the orientation.

The entry is on the east side, facing the City. It features a wall of glass, protected by a 60' cantilevered roof. The glassed north side features stairs facing out to a marina and the Van Wezel.

The west side is a glassed curtain wall overlooking the bay. The south side, while glassed, includes large expanses of opaque surface to provide shielding from the sun's harshest rays.


Inspired by a poem about a young boy's initial encounter with music, the Discovery concert hall (PDF) design aims to both embody and promote of the arts.

A semi-transparent polycarbonate sheathing encases much of the building, wrapping the structure in a protective but diaphanous box, with the orchestra as the jewel in the center. When the building is lit at night, the sheathing will glow.

Continuing the arts theme, a sculpture garden welcomes patrons as they cross from the parking structure. Through the enormous glass curtain wall on the east face of the building, passersby can enjoy a rotating display of large-scale paintings or projections. The west side glass wall frames views of Sarasota Bay.


Boudelaire's poem "Music" muses that sound, like an ocean, has the power to carry the listener away. The Flow concert hall (PDF) design seeks to capture the transportive quality of music using waves as a leitmotif.

The concert hall faces the water, and the articulated "steps" that connect the hall to the parking structure move in waves. A different form of wave—sine curves— inspired the shape of the diagrid structure which frames the views of the water.

The latticework on the parking structure is inset in a horizontal wave form. The covered walkways provide flow – both literally for concert patrons, and figuratively through their gentle wave forms which connect the structures to the landscape and city.


This circular concert hall design (PDF) takes is from a quote in the poem "The Loudest Shadow", which notes that music can serve a protective function, as well as from the shape of an unfolded seashell in homage to the bayfront setting.

Paying homage to both, the 360 degree design offers graceful exterior curves and an frames an expansive view of the site and the waterfront through a glass curtain wall situated behind the performers.

To ensure good acoustics, the interior performance hall has a more traditional rectangular form, albeit with a series of concave and convex walls to maximize sound reflection and fulfill the promise of an enveloping experience for concertgoers.


Taking inspiration from the Shel Silverstein poem "Where the Sidewalk Ends" the Threshold concert hall plan (PDF) redefines the place between inside and outside, melding with the earth, water, and sky.

The "sidewalk" is a grassy sloping living roof above the parking garage, which extends to the east and south sides of the concert hall, and culminates in a roof garden cul-de-sac on the west side.

The glass curtain wall on the west facade of the concert hall continues to the roof were it serves as a transparent protective barrier, melding the concepts of structure and nature.


The Tempo concert hall (PDF) features semi-translucent billowy frosted glass "clouds" emulating the motions of an orchestra conductor's hands.

Just as the conductor weaves individual musician's performances into a greater whole, the program of this design is divided into two distinct structures (performing space on one side and rehearsal spaces / offices on the other), united by a shared "lobby" / covered walkway.

The playful glass forms and communal lobby speak to the poetic inspiration for this design, Dr. Seuss "Oh, The Places You'll Go!".