Extra space a year away for Hendrie

Music students awaiting the renovation of Hendrie Hall, which accommodates several musical organizations, will have to cope with limited space for another year.

The renovation of and expansion of Hendrie Hall, which was set to begin this fall, has been postponed until the 2009-’10 academic year because preliminary design took longer than projected, said Michael Yaffe, associate dean for Administrative Affairs at the School of Music. Initially, the renovation did not include an addition to the building, which also accounted for the delay, Deputy Provost of the Arts Barbara Shailor said.

“It is more complex and larger in scope,” she said.

In the spate of construction across the Yale campus, the Hendrie Hall renovation addresses both an oft-bemoaned dearth of rehearsal spaces in the arts and a potential increase in the undergraduate student body in light of the proposed new residential colleges, members of the building committee explained.

“The building is going to solve so many problems,” Yaffe, chairman of the committee, emphasized. “It will have 32 [total] practice rooms, which is really needed on campus.”

School of Music Dean Robert Blocker dubbed the future Hendrie Hall a “musical nexus for all Yale students.” This label champions one of the demands highlighted in the 2003 Committee on Yale College Education Report, which called for more undergraduate and graduate and interactions as well as the focus on increasing arts rehearsal space in the 2008 Report to Consider Two New Residential Colleges.

Currently, Hendrie Hall offers practice spaces for School of Music students. For undergraduates, it houses the Yale Bands and the Yale Glee Club but does not have space dedicated to the Yale Symphony Orchestra.

Director of Yale Bands, Thomas C. Duffy, noted the building’s flaws that the renovation plans to fix: It lacks proper acoustics, adequate rehearsal spaces, and an elevator to transport equipment.

For the YSO, a remodeled Hendrie Hall will provide the Symphony’s first home. Although the YSO is 43 years old, it has never had a rehearsal space to call its own, YSO Managing Director Brian Robinson explained. While Woolsey Hall often acts as a surrogate rehearsal area, it poses both acoustic and scheduling challenges, Robinson added.

KPMB Architects, the firm that also renovated Sprague Memorial Hall in 2003, will focus on creating state-of-the-art acoustics and up-to-date rehearsal rooms to meet undergraduate and graduate wishes.

When the renovation finally occurs, constructors will gut the entire building, leaving only the historic staircase situated in the heart of Hendrie. The extension — which will jut out into Lot 51 to line up with Leigh Hall — will add one story below ground and four above, including an outdoor garden area and student lounge.

“One of the ideas was to create a space that could accommodate music at Yale, so the spaces are designed to be more multipurpose,” Duffy said. “This building will become a resource for all music activities.”

Before completion of the Sterling Law Building in 1931, the Law School occupied Hendrie Hall, which was built in 1900. Later converted to house musical organizations and custodial services, Hendrie Hall and its layout do not logically serve a music program, Duffy said.

According to Yaffe, the preliminary design will be completed in May, and then, after several additional phases of approval, the plans for Hendrie Hall will be finalized. The University decided to postpone a move out of the Hendrie until the end of an academic year to prevent unnecessarily uprooting the building’s current occupants mid-year, Yaffe said.

During the renovation, many of the organizations will temporarily relocate to space at the Divinity School.

Comments