from upenn library:
Leopold Stokowski conducting a rehearsal of the Curtis Orchestra in the Common Room of the Curtis Institute. 1925-26 school year
from Venturi, Scott, Brown website:
images of Locust block, before and after here:
Our design responds to the scale and character of the streetscape, integrating the facades of two historic townhouses, while providing institutional identity. A four-story façade on Locust Street is clad in brownstone with widows grouped to recall the rhythm of townhouses along the street. Large piano nobile windows express the 30’ high rehearsal hall, and a projected bay window highlights the entry and internal circulation system.
Student residences are located in a tower set as far back as possible from Locust Street and clad in a beige-gray brick; this renders it minimally visible from Locust Street and apparently a separate building.
A roof terrace above the four-story block provides outdoor space for students, faculty, and staff.
We worked closely with near neighbors, community groups, and other stakeholders to build consensus for the design and secure approval from the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The project has targeted LEED Silver certification.
from Curtis website
April 27, 2009
THE CURTIS INSTITUTE OF MUSIC BREAKS GROUND
ON NEW FACILITY: Lenfest Hall
The Curtis Institute of Music announces the groundbreaking for its new facility on the 1600 block of Locust Street. Curtis's vision: to be the finest music conservatory in the world and the first choice for students seeking performance careers.
Lenfest Hall: building is designed by renowned Philadelphia architects Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. Scheduled to open in 2011, the facility addresses Curtis's long-established needs for additional space, including an appropriate orchestra rehearsal room and greatly expanded teaching and practice facilities to relieve excessive pressures on the historic main building at 1726 Locust Street. The building will also allow Curtis to provide, for the first time, student residences and dining facilities for the entire Curtis community.
The new facility will be a stunning addition to the campus that allows us to maintain our priceless musical traditions while positioning us for the future.
Situated one block from the current facilities at 1718, 1720, and 1726 Locust Street, Lenfest Hall will create a city campus, completing a "Curtis corridor" along Locust Street from Rittenhouse Square to the Avenue of the Arts, where the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and Curtis Opera Theatre perform regularly at the Kimmel Center.
"The design of Lenfest Hall pays tribute to the historic block of 1600 Locust Street while providing a state-of-the-art educational setting for the talented young musicians that come to Curtis," said Daniel McCoubrey, principal architect for Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. "We have preserved the façades of two nineteenth-century townhouses and at the same time created inviting community spaces, ample teaching and practice rooms, and student housing within the new building."
One of the world's leading music schools, Curtis provides full-tuition scholarships to all of its 162 students, ensuring that admissions are based solely on artistic promise.
First Floor: the Commons
One of the building's main social centers, the Commons will include a dining hall and a comfortable lounge looking out onto historic St. Mark's Church and its gardens.
Kiosks with electronic screens near the building's two entrances keep students up-to-date on lesson schedules and other activities taking place across Curtis's campus.
Separate elevator banks provide access to the private student residences, as well as to the Orchestra Rehearsal Hall, classrooms, studios, and practice rooms.
Second Floor: Orchestra Rehearsal Hall and Teaching Studios
A 3,500-square-foot, acoustically designed rehearsal hall will accommodate a full orchestra for the largest-scale core repertoire, enhancing Curtis's ability to attract world-renowned visiting conductors and guest artists.
Surrounding the rehearsal hall are teaching studios for double bass, percussion, and harp and an atrium lounge, as well as student lockers and storage space for all instruments.
Third Floor: Rehearsal and Practice Studios
A wide range of practice rooms and studios for individual instruction, practice, and chamber music rehearsals enable Curtis to meet the practice needs of every student, whether living in the residence hall or off-campus.
The third floor also features audio and video recording studios.
Fourth Floor: Rehearsal and Practice Studios and Orchestra Library
As on the third floor, practice rooms and studios for individual instruction, practice, and chamber music rehearsals will be available.
The fourth floor will also be home to the Orchestra Library, which stores all performance materials, scores, and parts used for orchestra rehearsals and concerts. Relocation of the Orchestra Library from the Rock Resource Center at 1720 Locust Street will bring Curtis's orchestral activities under one roof, increasing efficiency and will free up valuable library space in the Rock Resource Center.
Fifth Floor: Student Social Center and Terrace
A social center overlooking Locust Street includes a media/entertainment room and an outdoor terrace. Set back forty-five feet from Locust Street, the terrace will be landscaped by Longwood Gardens, the renowned horticultural center in Kennett Square, Pa. The terrace perimeter will also include a "green roof" environment.
The student residences begin on this floor, with a designated suite for a senior resident advisor. Other fifth-floor amenities include laundry facilities and a small kitchen.
Sixth–Ninth Floors: Student Residences
Residences will accommodate 88 students (approximately half of the student body). Each suite will provide four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and common/social space.
Architectural History: On the Square
The Curtis Institute of Music is located on Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square and occupies what were formerly four private homes—the George W. Childs Drexel mansion at 1726 Locust Street, the Edward A. Sibley house at 235 South 18th Street, the Theodore H. Cramp house at 1720 Locust Street, and the building at 1718 Locust Street.