Top Real Estate Projects 2012: Donald & Maureen Green Music Center, Weill Concert Hall, Rohnert Park
Category: Special Award
ROHNERT PARK — While early plans for the magnificent and unrivaled Donald and Maureen Green Music Center on the campus of Sonoma State University date back to 1996, construction activities did not begin in earnest until March 1, 2006. The center officially opened this year on Sept. 29.
The initial concept for the center began with the Green family’s dream to create a choral recital hall on campus and see it grow to become a world-class arts center.
When Mr. and Mrs. Green, along with SSU President Ruben Armiñana and his wife, Marne Olson, visited the Seiji Ozawa Concert Hall at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts in the 1990s, they were impressed with its acoustical perfection and intrigued by its design. They wanted to replicate it on the SSU campus.
Fundraising for this project started with an initial contribution from the Green family and was capped by a generous $12 million gift from the Joan and Sanford I. Weill. These funds, combined with an outpouring of donations from nearly 1,800 donors supplemented with private funding and state bond support, combined to make the Green Music Center a reality.
The center is more than an elegant venue for musical artists, vocalists and dancers. It is an outstanding multi-use educational environment for students, as well as an elegant hospitality venue and an executive retreat center.
The crown jewel of the nearly $150 million, 104,435-square-foot complex occupying 26 acres is the 1,400-seat Joan and Sanford I. Weill Concert Hall designed by Architect William Rawn and Acoustician Lawrence Kirkegaard.
The modular lower rear wall of the Weill Concert Hall opens fully to allow outdoor audiences of more than 5,000 to share musical experiences while seated on a terraced lawn.
In the future, the Weill Commons, an area east of the concert hall, will be transformed into an amphitheater with a 10,000-seat capacity for large-scale outdoor events.
The complex also has a Music Education Hall that encompasses two seminar rooms, three ensemble and rehearsal rooms, seven practice studios, several musical activities rooms as well as faculty and administrative offices.
Support spaces for Weill Hall include an entry courtyard, lobby, public accommodations, dressing rooms, and the Founders’ Room where donors meet before or after concerts or other performances.
Schroeder Hall, once completed, will be located adjacent to the Music Education Hall. Designed for choral music, this 250-seat hall will resemble a European cathedral with a high ceiling and slightly curved walls.
Jean Schulz, wife of the late cartoonist, Charles Schulz, named Schroeder Hall after the famous young piano-playing cartoon character. A rare Brombaugh tracker organ will grace the stage-end wall of Schroeder Hall from its own balcony.
Prelude is an elegant 250-seat restaurant with a commercial kitchen. Prelude is open on most concert evenings serving locally grown foods from Sonoma County.
It also serves as an event, wedding and meeting facility for campus and non-campus groups.
An exterior patio includes a water feature, fire pits, an overhead arbor with heaters for cool evenings as well as trees and native landscaping.
Superb acoustics are a hallmark of the spacious rectangular Weill Hall.
The cornice around the perimeter of the ceiling has sound-transparent perforated metal panels.
Attic space functions as a return air plenum, a platform for the lighting rig and an exterior sound buffer.
A lightweight ceiling reduces seismic loads and provides full frequency reflections resulting from a wood-frame construction.
Adjustable banners and curtains allow acoustic liveliness to be tuned to support a wide range of music and audience sizes.
Stage lifts and risers can be arranged to fine-tune ensemble communications as well as the sound on the main floor.
To keep the hall at optimum temperature, conditioned air rises from floor vents and escapes through ceiling vents and crafted wooden seats were designed for comfort, yet remain acoustically neutral whether occupied or empty.
The center’s programs will go beyond music to include arts and lectures, readings, exhibitions, seminars and stage performances.
Musical productions will encompass symphonic, choral, chamber, jazz, as well as popular/folk, vocal and other styles that appeal to music lovers kinds.
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