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After years of planning, UW-Madison is proposing a striking music performance building that would include a recital hall, rehearsal space and eventually a concert hall next to the Chazen Museum of Art on a now-vacant corner of University Avenue and Lake Street.

The project, billed by the university as a “true campus gateway location for the arts corridor and the community,” will be shared with the city’s Urban Design Commission on Wednesday.

The $22 million project is entirely funded by anonymous donors, according to the university.

It is designed by Holzman Moss Bottino Architects of New York City, in partnership with Strang Architects of Madison. Acoustic design is by Richard Talaske/Sound Thinking of Oak Park, Illinois, with theatrical design by Fisher Dachs Associates of New York City, according to the university.

The School of Music is currently housed in the aging, multidisciplinary George L. Mosse Humanities Building, with its labyrinthine layout that can be confusing for visitors.

The proposed Music Performance Building would be dedicated to music, and built with double-concrete walls and a double-concrete roof to block noise from busy University Avenue.

The building would serve “both an academic and a public mission” and accommodate “occasional guests” as well as students, faculty and staff, according to documents submitted to the city. Details about guest uses were not released.

The two-story, first phase of the project would provide 32,123 square feet of space for a 325-seat recital hall with a stage to accommodate 20 to 25 musicians that could also function as a recording studio.

The school’s current recital hall, located in the Humanities Building and known as Morphy Hall, was the site of more than 160 performances last year. The new recital hall would offer more than 350 presentations a year.

The proposed building also would include a glass-walled lobby and rehearsal room, allowing passersby to view rehearsals.

“Such extended transparency will help create educational and social connections between working musicians and the public, a key priority for the School of Music,” according to a university statement.

The three-story second phase, currently not funded, would be built immediately to the north and feature a 737-seat concert hall that could accommodate 70 to 90 musicians with space in the back for support functions. The campus’ current concert hall for major student and faculty performances, Mills Hall, seats 700.

The two phases could be built simultaneously or separately, according to documents submitted to the city. Construction is scheduled to begin in November 2015 and be completed in spring 2017.

A potential third phase that would provide the balance of academic support spaces could be constructed on the UW-Extension site to the north.

The new music building would complete the 700 block facing University Avenue. The Chazen Museum of Art received an 86,000-square-foot addition and facelift in 2011. That project cost $43 million, including a $25 million donation from former UW-Madison students Simona and Jerome Chazen.

The site and landscape design of the new building will offer a “gracious entry” from University Avenue, the documents say.

Susan Cook, director of the UW-Madison School of Music, and Gary Brown, director of Campus Planning and Landscape, could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Contact Dean Mosiman at or 252-6141. Contact Gayle Worland at or 252-6188.

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