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USF School of Music

The School of Music (SOM) is a long-anticipated project for the University of South Florida's College of Visual and Performing Arts. Originally housed in the Fine Arts Building constructed in 1963 for a mere 100 undergraduates, the University's music program has since quadrupled, pushing the limits of its physical capacity and compelling students to seek makeshift practice spaces outdoors.

The project's dramatic yet simple defining element – the lyrical wall – uses form and shadow to express rhythm and pattern. The wall reinforces the building’s purpose – music – and guides audiences to and through the building. It opens to lobbies, student spaces, a green amphitheater and smaller, more intimate spaces. The lyrical wall soars to 55 feet in height in some places and diminishes to bench height in others.

Phase I includes a new teaching facility with a 500-seat concert hall and a 100-seat recital hall. Supplementing performance venues include gallery spaces, classrooms, libraries, practice rooms, rehearsal halls, informal collaboration spaces, faculty studios, and administration offices. A 1,200-seat performance hall is planned for Phase II.

Hosting choral, instrumental, jazz, and percussion instruction and performance, the new SOM transforms the learning environment for students and faculty, establishing a music presence on campus and strengthening and enriching the University's cultural offerings.

“The students have taken to the building without hesitation… and the faculty have made themselves at home; we now have a building that’s state-of-the-art for a long time to come.”

– Ron Jones, Former Head of the USF College of The Arts

  • Sector: Higher Education
  • Scope: Architecture, Interior Design
  • Tampa, Florida
  • 2011
  • 113,535 SF
  • Photos courtesy of © Robert Benson Photography
  • Excellence Award (Unbuilt Work), AIA HR, 2009
  • Honor Award, AIA VA, 2012
Project Team
Robert V. Reis
Design Principal
Erika Feggestad
Howard Performance Architecture
Theatre Designer
Acoustic Specialist
Affiliated Engineers
MEP Engineering
Walter P. Moore
Structural Engineering
Civil Engineering
Cost Estimator