Yale University

Adams Center for Musical Arts

Project at a Glance

New Haven, CT


Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB), Architects

Project Type


Project Overview

  • Demolished the existing building’s interior down to its structure and rebuilt
  • Integrated new systems and program areas into two historic buildings without compromising their historic integrity
  • Coordinated with the University and surrounding neighborhood

Originally built in 1851 and shared by both the Yale School of Music and Yale College, the Adams Center now offers some of the University’s largest rehearsal spaces with this extensive renovation and addition. The newly renovated building features state-of-the-art rehearsal facilities, faculty studios and 35 practice rooms, as well as a student commons space. The addition houses a new orchestra hall, digital recording studio and an informal gathering space for musicians from all parts of the University. Practice rooms are lined with nine layers of sheetrock to control sound transmission throughout the building. The new building mirrors the old-world craftsmanship of the adjacent Leigh Hall with a granite architecture envelope, massive arched top windows, slate roofing and lead-coated copper flashings.

The existing historic building included structural terra cotta floors with a flat arch system made up of square cubes of hollow terra cotta. This flooring system is very delicate and extremely challenging to work around in a renovation—as one faulty cube could result in a structural collapse of an entire floor. Construction was carefully coordinated with the University and the surrounding neighborhood to mitigate noise disruption and obstructions to pedestrian traffic.