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A pivotal gateway site at the convergence of two existing campus grids

Index to Projects in Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Gross Floor Area
284,770 s/f

New construction:
146,870 s/f

137,900 s/f

University of Cincinnati

Time Frame
Planning: 5/92–
   Phase I–VI: 1/93–
Completion: 10/99

College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio
Completed 1999


Lead Designers:


Henry N. Cobb
Charles T. Young III


Performing arts center and teaching facility

Click on image to enlarge

CCM's existing premises (1960s) were crammed, bone-in-throat, into an awkwardly shaped, steeply sloped site between undistinguished buildings, further isolated from campus life by encircling service roads. In this tightly constrained setting, CCM required new facilities that would more than double its floor area.

Critical analysis determined that existing performance and support spaces should be renovated, the existing academic wing replaced, and an abandoned gymnasium and obsolete dormitory rehabilitated for use by the school. This strategy permitted a new academic wing to frame one side of a new courtyard, creating the spatial focus for the buildings, new and old, which now constitute CCM's "village" within the larger campus.

Executed in six phases over seven years to avoid  interruption of school activities, the project comprises 146,870 square feet of new construction, 137,900 square feet of renovation, and a 400-car underground garage. Performance spaces include a renovated 750-seat proscenium theater, an existing 400-seat thrust-stage theater, a new 300-seat recital hall, a new 200-seat studio theater, and a 100-seat master classroom, plus numerous new/renovated rehearsal spaces for musical and vocal ensembles, opera, theater, and dance.

Two fundamental ideas govern the design: a) the environmental quality of a campus — indeed of any community — can be significantly enhanced by the imaginative reuse of existing buildings together with new construction; and b) the first obligation of any campus building project, beyond providing required facilities, is to shape attractive gathering places, interior and exterior, that will engender a sense of community and shared purpose among all who experience them.


Major Components

Phase I: Dieterle Vocal Arts Center
Renovation of former women's gymnasium to house voice and opera faculty studios; choral rehearsal and support spaces; vocal and opera coaching. (36,900 s/f) Opened 1/95

Phase II: Corbett Auditorium
Renovation of a fully equipped 750-seat proscenium theater for opera, musical theater, choral, orchestral and wind concerts, ballet, and recitals. (19,350 s/f) Opened 4/96

Phase III: Memorial Hall
Transformation of former dormitory into individual and chamber music practice rooms and teaching studios for instrumental and piano faculty. (56,000 s/f) Opened 1996

Phase IV:  Corbett Center for the Performing Arts, Scene Shop Wing
New and renovated spaces for theater production, including am 8,500 s/f scene shop; 3,000 s/f costume shop; wig, make-up and prosthetics studios; design/drafting studio; lighting laboratory; new offices for jazz studies department. (45,500 s/f total) Opened 1/97

Phase V: Galleria and Patricia Corbett Pavilion Renovation
The former Patricia Corbett Pavilion enclosed to provide offices and support spaces for the musical theater and drama programs; all dance facilities renovated; new offices for Performance Management, Arts Administration, Preparatory Department. (143,600 s/f) Opened 3/98

Phase VI: New Mary Emery Hall and Plaza
New administration and instructional building (128,000 s/f) includes new electronic media center, administrative offices, classrooms, faculty offices; performance spaces include 3,700 s/f Studio Theater and 300-seat Robert J. Werner Recital Hall; new plaza connecting all buildings; new 400-car garage on 3 levels below plaza and academic building (204,200 s/f) Opened 10/99




American Institute of Architects:
National Honor Award


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners services

Full Architectural Services; Interior Design of public interiors; coordination with associate architect on construction documents and construction administration; winning scheme in international design competition


Associate Architect

Architect of Record: NBBJ-Roth, Columbus, OH



THP Limited, Cincinnati, OH


Mechanical / Electrical / Plumbing / Fire Protection

Korda/Nemeth Engineering, Columbus, OH



Kirkegaard & Associates, Downers Grove, IL    



Theatre Projects Consultants, Ridgefield, CT   



Fisher Marantz Renfro Stone, New York, NY



Olin Partnership, Philadelphia, PA



Photo credits

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