For well over a year, Stoeckel Hall, the firehouse-red music building on the corner of Wall and College streets, was smothered in blue scaffolding.
Now, in time for spring semester classes, Stoeckel has reopened and the little remaining scaffolding along Wall Street is set to come down soon. The renovation, designed by Charney Architects of New Haven, has not only restored the building’s terra-cotta to its original splendor but also added space for classrooms and code compliance.
Including the addition and basement space, the building is now 20,630 square feet. Most of that space is dedicated for Department of Music offices and classes; the refurbished building serves as an important part of Yale’s music campus, as it is across from Sprague Hall and on the same block as Leigh Hall and Hendrie Hall.
The Music Department caters primarily to undergraduates, but School of Music Dean Robert Blocker noted more generally that “Stoeckel Hall is historically attached in name and location to music at Yale.”
Indeed, though originally designed by Grosvenor Atterbury in 1897 for the Chi Phi fraternity, Stoeckel was bought by the University in 1935 and converted to music offices and studios in 1954. It was at that time, also, that the building was renamed in honor of Gustave Stoeckel, Yale’s first music instructor.
The original program for the renovation did not call for as large an addition as was ultimately built. But Rich Charney, the architect in charge of the project, said requirements for handicap accessibility and fireproofing convinced administrators that it would be cost-effective to build a significant addition to Stoeckel’s south side.
Not only does the new entrance, which is set back from the sidewalk, shift the primary means of access to the building from Wall Street to College Street, but it also allows for the addition of seminar rooms throughout the new space.
Charney said the construction provides a more efficient floor plan, with offices and bathrooms now larger than before. He said the restoration of the building’s façade required the custom production of more than 500 pieces of terra-cotta. Wood windows were removed and rebuilt with insulated glass.
But it was the new grand staircase that provided Charney the most room for architectural expression.
“We had one place in this building to make any sort of statement,” Charney said in an interview yesterday. “The staircase is the element that unifies the entire space. We wanted it to be memorable and have some lyricism to it; we were trying to come up with something that isn’t just another stair rail.”
Students and faculty standing in the original section of Stoeckel can see to the stairs through a glass wall. That connection, Charney said, is meant to demonstrate that the project was not just a faithful renovation but also a modern addition.
That the new wing is not meant to look as though it could also have been built in 1897 differentiates the project from another done by the same firm: an addition to Woodbridge Hall that serves as a wheelchair-accessible rear entrance. University Planner Laura Cruickshank said the firm is also doing work on the Sterling Power Plant at the medical school and the Central Power Plant on central campus.
The Stoeckel Hall renovation and addition has not yet received a LEED score for its sustainability, though the final paperwork for certification will be filed soon. Charney said it is likely to garner at least a silver, and possibly a gold, rating.