David Friend Recital Hall

 

 
  ©1997 Greg Premru

The most impressive room in the building is the David Friend Recital Hall, a semicircular performance space with a horseshoe-shaped balcony, designed by architect Shizuo Harada. According to building architect Myron Miller, Harada referred to the recital hall as "the typhoon room, a metaphor for Berklee's success in spinning out talented musicians around the whole world."

Named after the longtime Berklee trustee who recently donated $100,000 to the college, the Friend Recital Hall seats 160 people and uses a stage that can be moved to the center of the room, creating a performance-in-the-round environment.

"It's gorgeous and it's really geared toward acoustic music," said Vessela Stoyanova, a fourth-semester student from Bulgaria majoring in performance and film scoring. "The room has a very natural sound and works well for unamplified instruments."

The same sensitivity to acoustics that informed the plans for the Uchida building's performance space was put to use in all aspects of the building's design. Floating ceilings and double walls keep sound from traveling from room to room and floor to floor; even the duct work is acoustically lined to prevent music from leaking through heating vents. In the recital hall, the ventilation system was designed to prevent unwanted accompaniment from blowers.

For many students, such as percussionists, the building has opened up new possibilities for practice and study. "I couldn't believe it when I walked in and saw the percussion practice rooms," said Stoyanava, a marimba principal. "There's five big rooms for marimba, and each one is set up with a mixer and recording equipment."

Other departments that enjoyed expansion included Piano, which received three new keyboard labs, and Guitar, which gained 11 guitar labs and ensemble rooms plus several private lesson rooms. In addition, the building's "classrooms of the future" are wired to the Berklee Learning Resources Network and are equipped with audio, MIDI and video projection capabilities.