Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Howard Performing Arts Center

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Institution Name: Andrews University
Original/Historic Place Name: Howard Performing Arts Center
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
2004original construction Kierkegaard Associates
2004original construction HarleyEllis
Designer: HarleyEllis (Detroit, MI); Kierkegaard Associates
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (recording facility)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (WAUS classical music station)
ca. 2004-present (2006)auditorium (concert hall)

The Howard Performing Arts Center was designed by the firm of Harley Ellis of Southfield, Michigan, which is also responsible for music and performance buildings at Michigan State University and Central Michigan University. The acoustics were engineed by Kirkegaard Associates of Chicago, who also renovated the Chicago Symphony Center. Shuler and Shook of Chicago created the theatrical plan and lighting design; and Fiskars, Inc., of St. Joseph, Michigan was in charge of construction. The building is named for John and Dede Howard, who provided a large portion of the funding for the Howard Center. Mr. and Mrs. Howard's gift is the largest Andrews has ever received.

The concert hall has a shoebox design. No two walls are perfectly parallel, which allows the sound to refract off the opposing wall and be pushed back toward the audience. The hall is also virtually soundproof as a result of a three-foot-thick wall created by the the combination of the concrete pre-cast outer layer, the inner masonry, and a gap in between the two. Acoustical panels on the side walls and ceiling and a movable curtain system ensure correct tuning.

One of the unique features of the building is its placement and orientation on campus. Christened the "hello" building by President Niels-Erik Andreasen, the Howard Center does not follow the regular north-south orientation of all other campus buildings, thus allowing for a panoramic view of the campus from the lobby.


Campus Master Plan. 2002. Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI.

Jones-Gray, Meredith. As We Set Forth. Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2002.


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Last update: November 2006