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News > Advancing Architecture and Design > Maltz Center for the Performing Arts

Maltz Center for the Performing Arts

Photo: Halkin Mason Photography
Photo: Halkin Mason Photography

MGA Partners was chosen to design and oversee the completion of the first phase, shaping a Concert Hall within the existing Sanctuary and creating a Recital Hall. The venue is the largest gathering space on campus and can be used for a variety of ensembles and festivals, while still serving as a place of worship.

The most prominent design insertion, a 66,000-pound glass and metal canopy allow adjustable acoustic and lighting support for varying performance ensembles. This carefully conceived, custom fabrication provides continuous views through to the original vaulted dome, while perfecting the necessary sound engineering.

Richly appointed with period detail and decorative finishes—fitting for one of the most prominent and historic Reform congregations in the US—the project required a significant preservation component to uncover the beauty of many historic details, including the stained-glass clerestory, the Guastavino tiled vaulted dome, marble corridors as well as the limestone facade.

Technical challenges of inserting a concert hall stage into a room that would also be used for worship were accomplished by modifying the attributes to the room to serve new purposes. Stained glass windows became operable lighting and projection positions, the operable concert hall stage can be lowered in sections reducing the stage from concert size, to ensemble, to bima for worship services, pews are refit with theatre seating and augmented with custom designed removable chairs and the Akoustolith dome was restored and coated in an indiscernible patchwork pattern to increase the acoustic reflectivity.

Immediately recognized for the visionary preservation of this great hall, the initial project spurred additional achievements for the university and greater Cleveland community, including the addition of two theater spaces. Concert and theater venues are mainstays on campuses—rare are the university complexes that unite an extraordinary architectural landmark with state-of-the-art sound projection and technical capabilities.

Project: Maltz Center for the Performing Arts 

Location: Cleveland, Ohio 

Client: Case Western Reserve University

Project Size: 45,000 sq ft

Project Team:
MGA Partners (Architect)

Westlake Reed Leskosky (Associate Architect)

Barber & Hoffman, Inc. (Structural Engineer, local)

CVM (Structural Engineer)

Karpinski Engineering (Systems, Civil Engineer)

Akustiks, LLC (Acoustic Consulting)

Theatre Projects (Theatre Consulting)

The Lighting Practice (Lighting Design)

Behnke Associates (Landscape Design)

Blundall Associates, Inc. (Cost Estimating)

Shen Milsom Wilke (Audio/Visual Consulting)

Turner Construction Company (General Contractor)

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