College of William and Mary – Fine and Performing Arts Quarter

HGA led the architectural design of the College of William & Mary Fine and Performing Arts Quarter, creating a contemporary and dynamic space for music, theater, and dance, while respecting the campus’s historic aesthetic.

  • area / size 176,500 sqft
  • Completed 2023
  • The College of William & Mary Fine and Performing Arts Quarter creates a front door to the arts district, welcoming people in and showcasing the College’s programs for the arts while offering presence and connection to the broader Williamsburg community. HGA led the architectural design, interior design, and lighting efforts for the state-of-the-art performing arts buildings with Moseley Architects as the Architect-of-Record.

    For the Arts Quarter, school leadership wanted the buildings to have a distinct identity and contemporary aesthetic. HGA designed the new music building and transformed the midcentury Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall (PBK), which is home to theater and dance, creating a dynamic new section of the campus. Designed for teaching the performing arts, these buildings will be used for instruction and extra-curricular activities in music, theater, and dance, putting arts on display.

    The College of William & Mary’s historic buildings were built with a unique brick color blend in a Flemish bond pattern, a signature campus aesthetic. One of these buildings is the Wren Building, where a cornerstone was laid in 1695. The renovated exterior of PBK and the new music building blend the signature brick with new materials, metal panels and wood. Much of the glass contains a ceramic frit to minimize solar heat gain and meet bird-safe glazing requirements. The materials and color palettes are of the campus tradition while their applications are modern and artful.

    HGA renovated and expanded Phi Beta Kappa Hall, which was built in the 1950’s into a more transparent, welcoming, energy efficient and completely accessible facility that welcomes students, faculty, and the wider community. The new Music Building moves the music department out of Ewell Hall, a building on the historic campus, into a purpose-built facility tailored to music’s unique requirements with a focus on the acoustic performance of the facility.

    The contemporary interior design of the 400-seat Concert Hall and 100-seat Comey Recital Hall in the Music Building recalls two of the primary spaces in the College’s oldest building, the Wren Building. The adjustable acoustic concert hall being the signature space for large performances while the recital hall is for more intimate presentations. The building also includes a percussion studio, instrument and choral rehearsal rooms, and a rehearsal studio for non-western music ensembles as well as practice rooms and teaching studios.

    Phi Beta Kappa Hall is the hub of the Arts Quarter. Notable spaces in the renovated and expanded theater and dance building include three theater spaces, ranging in size from 75 to 500 seats, scenic art and costume labs, acting studios, and dance recital and rehearsal spaces. Additionally, PBK includes active learning classrooms, design and multi-media labs, a lighting lab and the second floor provides spaces for faculty and students to work, study, collaborate and gather.

    Designed and constructed with sustainable initiatives, the performing arts buildings are designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification.

    Design: HGA
    Architect of Record: Moseley Architects
    Contractor: Whiting-Turner
    Photography: Connie Zhou