1998                  ROCKLAND, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

The attempt to reconcile contradictory program elements and client mandates into a cohesive contemporary solution dictates the main design concept for this project. The desired environment, described as a rustic landscape with an emphasis on rocks, trees and log—cabin structures, houses a fully functional music studio. The thematic environment cannot be allowed to compromise the demands of the recording equipment and its seamless integration into the building. As a result, the client’s requests are elaborated upon, and compatible aspects of the theme are utilized to acoustical advantage. In the process, the superficial theme park approach is transformed into a comprehensive architectural concept, unifying form and function. The desired appearance is used as a fundamental structural element rather than applied as décor over an unrelated functional core.

Strict acoustic parameters and equipment requirements are paramount in the studio segment of the plan. In the control room, traditional log-cabin construction provides mid-range sound diffusion on the back wall and ceiling, and structural support for the independently floating inner shell. The acoustic frequency response and the reflection patterns originating from the loudspeakers are directly related to the construction methods and materials.

The tracking room and the additional recording booths require high sound-isolation levels, and a strictly controlled acoustic environment. Rock walls, logs, floating wood panels and fabric-covered soffits are used to achieve this. Openings allow daylight into the studios, and form a new geometric layer superimposed on the inside of the large existing windows.

In the common areas, a cave of faux-rock walls is complemented by a more architectural arrangement of hard-edged tectonic concrete pieces. All rock elements and masonry walls are bordered by clean steel plates, exposing the stone’s constructed quality. Logs recur here, and the materials and detailing further the precedent introduced in the acoustic spaces. Recessed video monitors and loudspeakers in the rock walls close the conceptual circle by recalling the environment’s purpose as a high-tech production facility.

All of the existing large exterior windows are maintained, but wall layers with different window shapes are installed on the inside, making the transformation visible from the street, and filtering daylight into the spaces while enhancing the soundproofing of the studio.

building use: multi-story recording studio complex
project scope:    architecture, interior design, equipment integration
schedule:  design 1998, unbuilt
construction cost:         N/A