Linde Center for Music and Learning
Architect: William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.
Owner: Boston Symphony Orchestra
Location: Lenox, Massachusetts
Category: Design excellence
Built to support the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Learning Institute, the Linde Center for Music and Learning functions as a music incubator that delivers the full Tanglewood experience to both students and visitors. Nestled into the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, the center’s four buildings sit on a ridge overlooking Tanglewood’s famed Seiji Ozawa Hall and the hills beyond, while, inside, the institute’s programs foster experimentation and a deeper, intellectual engagement with music.
As an educational campus, students are drawn to the center to learn from master musicians, seeking inspiration to shape their own careers in music and music education. To support that, the center’s design encourages the free exchange of ideas and includes distance learning capabilities that share programs beyond Tanglewood itself. As the newest addition to the campus, the center carefully intertwines the intensity of music creation at the highest levels with the trademark informality of the setting.
“The connection and lineage of this project is beautiful. The open rooms recall outdoor performances traditionally held at Tanglewood.” - Jury comment
Tanglewood’s institute endeavors to expose participants to behind-the-scenes rehearsals, master classes, and dinners that are open to both artists and audience. To that end, visitors are welcome to explore and even sit in on rehearsals while retaining the connection to music and the natural environment. Much like Ozawa Hall, the center’s buildings boast 50-foot-wide operable walls, sliding doors, and actuator-operated windows that allow for Tanglewood’s characteristic open-air experience. While the center is fully air conditioned, this approach provides significant energy savings and maximizes the number of days the center can forgo air conditioning. The individual buildings are connected by a snaking walkway and are arranged around a regal, 100-foot-tall red oak tree. Each building opens onto the landscape, providing each studio with balanced daylight and sweeping views of the landscape.
The architects originally designed Ozawa Hall, which opened in 1994 and is widely considered one the best concert halls in America. A close relationship with Tanglewood and the orchestra allowed the team to design the center to fit the needs of the musicians and instructors. The design process was conducted over two of Tanglewood’s summer sessions, during which the arrangement of the buildings and pathway was dialed in by staking out a full-scale footprint multiple times. In just over one year of operation, the center has already begun to fulfill its mission and is allowing the orchestra to shape the future of classical music.