Strauss Performing Arts Center Addition and Renovation

University of Nebraska Strauss Performing Arts Center

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. Recent growth in the music program and advances in technology established a need for UNO to construct buildings to accommodate additional space and facilities, including practice rooms, percussion and piano studios, a recording studio and a recital hall. HDR designed the addition and renovation to the renowned School of Music, which included updating the acoustic and technological capabilities of the existing facilities.

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.

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 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.

The majority of the renovation to the existing facility focused on mechanical and electrical upgrades, which improves the acoustic environment and aligns 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 center includes:

  • Recital hall classrooms
  • Assembly space
  • Modular practice rooms
  • Dedicated piano laboratory
  • Oversized laboratory for moving large instruments
  • Recording studio
University of Nebraska Strauss Performing Arts Center
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Omaha, NE
United States

25,000 SF (2, 323 m²)