Esther Eastman Music Center, Hotchkiss School

Two music halls; two designs

The music program at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., previously was relegated to the basement of the school’s chapel. Construction of the glass-walled Esther Eastman Music Center in 2006 changed that, making the program a centerpiece of the campus.

“The primary charge from school was make the music program an integral part of daily lives of students,” says Jeff Riley, project architect from Centerbrook Architects in Essex, Conn. “This new building of glass allows people to look into it and see these activities—concerts, rehearsals. That transparency integrated the music program into the life of school.”

The main element of the music center is the glass shell that houses the main pavilion. The façade features 11⁄4-inch insulating acoustic glass units. “Glass is a great acoustic material if it is thick enough,” Riley says. “It’s quite massive; quite dense; a very reflective material, so it acts great acoustically.”

The IG units feature a low-emissivity coating on the No. 2 surface of the 1⁄4-inch exterior lite, 1⁄2-inch airspace and 1⁄2-inch laminated lite. Viracon of Owatonna, Minn., was the glass fabricator, and Vistawall Architectural Products and Moduline Window Systems of Terrell, Texas., provided the curtain wall and window systems.

The façade includes glass doors that open up the pavilion to outdoor seating, Riley says. “The concert hall just expands to the outdoors, and they have a wonderful setting for a lovely afternoon of music.” Esther Eastman Music Center, Hotchkiss School

O&G Industries Inc. of Torrington, Conn., served as the general contractor, and Massey’s Plate Glass & Aluminum of Branford, Conn., as the glazing contractor. Total construction cost was $10.5 million.

Esther Eastman Music Center earned certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program last fall, Riley says.