When Eero Saarinen was commissioned to design the master plan for the University of Michigan’s North Campus, he requested to design the music school building, which is now known as the Earl V. Moore Building, and is home to the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance.
The original scheme called for an L-shaped building and a circular concert hall. Completed in 1964, the result was a five-level pavilion with flanking wings. Saarinen envisioned a building in harmony with nature, and so designed the building to be built into a hill overlooking a pond. The brick-clad concrete structure has narrow vertical windows that contrast with the horizontal brick patterns. The brick color is known as “Cranbrook Buff” for its reference to the color of the buildings on the campus of the Cranbrook Education Community. The style of this building has influenced almost all of the later construction on North Campus.
The building contains 2 rehearsal/concert halls, 45 performance teaching studios, 18 classrooms, 40 offices, a large library, 120 practice rooms, including 12 organ practice rooms, and other special facilities for piano, harp, harpsichord and percussion practice. The construction of this building allowed for the first increase in enrollment since 1946.
During construction of the building, Saarinen was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but he was able to watch the progress of the building from his room at University Hospital.
“About Us – Facilities,” University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, accessed July 5, 2011.
“Earl V. Moore Building, School of Music, University of Michigan,”Joseph Messana Architectural Image Collection, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, accessed July 5, 2011.