The University of Michigan Hill Auditorium

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The challenge was to transform this historic gem into a state-of-the-art performance venue while retaining its historic elements and character within a 20-month construction schedule.

The University of Michigan Board of Regents commissioned Kahn to prepare plans for the addition and restoration project to the Albert Kahn-designed (1913), Hill Auditorium—considered one of the great concert halls of the world. Special care was taken to ensure that changes did not detract from the hall’s acoustics, which have been praised by world-class performance artists since the hall was first completed. Major client goals were the restoration of historic features, increased patron comfort and accessibility, building code compliance upgrades, and the replacement and modernization of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems. Key project features included restoration of the auditorium, public lobbies, monumental stairs and plaza entrance; creation of a new lower lobby with restrooms, concessions and exhibit space for the University’s rare musical instrument collection; introduction of two elevators; new seating; new west entrance; large below-grade mechanical room addition; and a comprehensive building system renewal, including the replacement of all plumbing, heating, ventilating systems and introduction of air-conditioning.

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