Strauss Performing Arts Center Addition and Renovation

UNO strauss performing arts center hallway

Strauss Performing Arts Center Addition and Renovation

Performing Arts Center Connects and Engages with the Campus and Community

Originally completed in 1973, the Strauss Performing Arts Center was designed to house the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) School of Music. In recent years, the school's Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in Music Technology has become its fastest-growing program. To meet the expanding needs of the music program and advances in technology, UNO turned to HDR to help usher in a new era for the Strauss Performing Arts Center. 

The renovation and addition were completed in two phases and accommodates new space for practice rooms, percussion and piano studios, a recording studio, and a recital hall among other features. Upgrades to the acoustics, technological capabilities, A/V and lighting were also made to the existing spaces.  

The Strauss sits on the north edge of the campus and is prominently positioned in the surrounding neighbourhood and along many bustling pedestrian pathways. The addition visually completes the plan horizontally and vertically with a five-storey structure. The additions are a striking complement to the existing structure. The focal element of the program, a two-storey, 100-seat recital hall, lives on the ground level of the building, while various studios and practice rooms are housed on the upper floors. A grand entrance on the west side of the building now provides a clear and inviting point of entry for performances and other community events.

The building features a simple and cost-effective steel structural frame, as well as a fenestration pattern that varies, based on solar orientation, to ensure maximized energy efficiency. The recital hall was designed to feature a glass-backed stage, providing a unique perspective for audiences, while simultaneously visually connecting the Strauss with the adjacent pedestrian spine and the larger community. This connection between the facility and the community is strengthened by glazed openings in the studio and lounge spaces purposefully displaying the activity within the space.

Much of the renovation to the existing facility focused on mechanical and electrical upgrades, which improves the acoustic environment and align the facility with current codes, such as accessibility standards. These functional renovations, combined with the addition of new and varied spaces, will promote the growth of The School of Music for years to come. 

The Updated Performing Arts Centre Includes:

  • Recital hall classrooms 
  • Assembly space 
  • 27 remodelled practice rooms with improved soundproofing 
  • Dedicated piano laboratory 
  • Oversized laboratory for moving large instruments 
  • Recording studio 
  • A smooth floor was installed for ease of moving delicate instruments 
  • Expanded computer lab to accommodate additional workstations
UNO strauss performing arts center hallway
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Omaha, NE
United States

25,000 SF (2,323 m²)