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Northwestern University’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts has been certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold for New Construction by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification, which differ for each rating system.

The sleek, glass-encased 155,000-square-foot building is the new home of the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

The Ryan Center atrium.

Designed by Goettsch Partners, Inc., a Chicago-based architectural firm, the contemporary limestone and glass five-story structure includes three state-of-the-art performance spaces: the 400-seat Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, the 163-seat black box-style Shirley Welsh Ryan Opera Theater and the 120-seat David and Carol McClintock Choral and Recital Room.

The center also includes classroom space, 99 soundproof practice rooms, 66 faculty teaching studios or offices and additional office space for staff and administrators. The center’s fifth floor houses School of Communication administrative offices.

“Northwestern University started this project with a goal to achieve a minimum of Silver-level LEED certification,” James Goettsch, FAIA, design partner and chairman/CEO at Goettsch Partners, Inc., said in a statement. “That commitment to sustainability was evident from the competition through to project completion.”

“Being an institutional client, Northwestern was willing to consider an extended return-on-investment period, versus a typical owner/developer. This long-term thinking will provide decades of energy and water savings for the university,” Michael F. Kaufman, managing partner, added.

“The innovative nature of a mostly glass music school, combined with attention to detailing, such as a double-skin facade, allowed us to provide extensive light to occupants, while still providing acoustical isolation and an energy-efficient enclosure,” said Patrick Loughran, FAIA PE, LEED AP, technical principal.

The Ryan Center’s sustainable and energy-efficient features include a double skin facade in many of the building’s areas that provides acoustical isolation and greatly improves the thermal performance of the facade and an under-slab drainage system connected to a grey-water tank that provides grey-water for the toilet and irrigation systems in the building and reduces water usage.

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