Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Sauder Concert Hall

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Institution Name: Goshen College
Original/Historic Place Name: Sauder Concert Hall
Location on Campus: Goshen College Music Center, northeast corner of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
2001-2002original construction Mathes Brierre Architects The Talaske Group Schmidt Associates Casteel Corporation
Designer: Mathes Brierre Architects; The Talaske Group; Schmidt Associates
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: precast concrete, masonry, EIFS
Roof: Duro-Last single-ply, steel deck
ca. 2001-present (2006)theater (concert hall)

The recent construction of Sauder Concert Hall and the Goshen College Music Center of which it is part provides a distinctive space for the continuation of Goshen's longstanding musical traditions. Inspired by the great concert halls of Europe, the design utilizes a classical rectangular "shoebox" form to provide seating for 900. One can see a special emphasis on acoustical design, including the construction of high ceilings (69'), angled walls, special benches in the choir loft, and shelved balconies. Until completion of the Music Center, musical concerts took place in other, less acoustically adequate campus facilities such as Assembly Hall, Union Auditorium-Gymnasium, Church-Chapel Sanctuary, and Umble Center Theater; performers and audiences alike have responded most favorably to the effectiveness of the new hall's design.

Music, particularly a capella singing, has been a strong interest of the college from its earliest days. An early college catalog stated that the aim of the music department was "to make music not merely an ornamental branch of study but a part of a complete education." Goshen's civic leaders lobbied the denominational college to relocate here in 1903 partly out of an interest in the perceived cultural benefits an institution of higher education might provide the town. Over succeeding decades, musical events have proved the most appreciated and comfortable intersections between town and gown, as those with little understanding of the college's pacifist heritage could still appreciate its musical offerings. Fundraising for the new music center confirmed community appreciation for the musical contributions the college program has made to the community.

Sauder Concert Hall and the Music Center substantially enhance the college's ability to cultivate excellence in the areas of musical performance, pedagogy, and scholarship, and provide both the campus and the wider civic community with a venue equal in quality to the student and professional artists who perform there.


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Last update: November 2006