Marlboro Music’s Award-Winning Reich Hall by HGA

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Transforming Tradition and Sustainability in the Green Mountains

Nestled in the picturesque foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains, the Marlboro Music festival has long been a haven for classical musicians seeking respite from the pressures of performance. This idyllic retreat, often hailed as “the classical world’s most coveted,” recently underwent a transformative project that combines tradition and sustainability to create an award-winning space for musicians. The Marlboro Music Reich Rehearsal Building & Music Library, designed by the acclaimed architecture and engineering firm HGA, stands as a testament to the power of architecture in harmonizing with nature and fostering creative brilliance.

Preserving the Legacy: A Visionary Architect

At the heart of this remarkable project is the vision of Joan Soranno, FAIA, and her partner, John Cook, FAIA, renowned architects who have demonstrated their prowess in previous collaborations with Marlboro Music. Having previously designed cottages and a residence hall for the festival, their expertise and deep understanding of Marlboro’s values were instrumental in creating the new Jerome & Celia Bertin Reich Rehearsal Building & Music Library (Reich Hall).

Embracing the Ethos of Marlboro: Design Concept

Drawing inspiration from the Cape Cod cottage, Soranno and Cook envisioned a space that stays true to the spirit of Marlboro and the simple, country ethos of Southern Vermont. The design template, derived from the cottage’s aesthetic of restraint and functionality, reflects Marlboro’s identity and its integration into the natural beauty of the Green Mountains. The building’s subtle gabled form, compact volumes, sloped roofs, and locally-sourced materials seamlessly blend with the lush rolling hills and forests that surround it. Moreover, the strategic positioning of the structure into the hillside allows it to coexist harmoniously with the upper and lower campus levels.

Sustainable Melody: Environmental Integration

One of the primary objectives of the project was sustainability. HGA, in close collaboration with key stakeholders at Marlboro Music and Marlboro College, made sustainability an intrinsic part of the design. The result is a building that not only captivates with its beauty but also excels in its discreet integration of sustainable initiatives.

Harmony with Nature: A green roof and courtyard were created to foster a sense of community among musicians and their families during the festival. This inviting space encourages casual interactions, events, and celebrations while celebrating the surrounding landscape.

Preserving the Past: With Marlboro Music’s vast collection of over 10,000 chamber music scores, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation Library became an essential component of the design. The library not only houses the collection but also provides a serene environment for study and browsing. Climate control, fire protection, lighting, and security were meticulously addressed to ensure the preservation of these cherished works.

Blending Elegance with Efficiency: The Reich Hall seamlessly incorporates sustainable features such as LED lighting, passive solar gains, natural ventilation through operable windows, and native plantings. Furthermore, an energy-efficient geothermal well field facilitates a radiant floor and fan coil system, further enhancing the building’s eco-friendly attributes.

Creating Harmony for Generations to Come

Completed in 2021, the Marlboro Music Reich Rehearsal Building & Music Library, designed by HGA’s Joan Soranno and John Cook, has earned accolades, including the prestigious 2023 AIA Architecture Award and the Architizer A+ Jury Award. This transformational project ensures that Marlboro’s world-class rehearsal spaces remain a harmonious retreat for musicians from diverse backgrounds. As the festival continues to bring together celebrated artists and aspiring talents each summer, the legacy of Marlboro Music thrives in its new, sustainable home amidst the natural splendor of Vermont’s Green Mountains.

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Technical Data

Location: Marlboro, Vermont
Completion Year: 2021
Client: Marlboro Music
Architects: Joan Soranno, FAIA; John Cook, FAIA
Design Team: HGA
Interior Design: HGA
Engineering: Structural, Mechanical, and Electrical: HGA
Landscape Architecture: HGA
Lighting: HGA

Contractor: Courtlan Construction
Civil Engineering: CHA Consulting, Inc.
Acoustics: Kvernstoen, Rönnholm & Associates, Inc.
Historical Consultant: Vermont Property Preservation Consultants
Photographer: Albert Vecerka

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