Honorable Mention - Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse

Haverford College

Roberts Hall Music Building Addition (Michael Jaharis Hall)
Haverford College - Roberts Hall Music Building Addition (Michael Jaharis Hall)
Jury Comments
““. . . elegant and visually stunning . . . knits together disparate parts on a very sensitive site . . . great use of physical models . . . visual connections, attention to daylighting, and sensitivity to existing campus environment are all strong . . .””


    • Site – <1 acre; Building – 8,600 sq ft
    • The principal space is a 3,000-sq-ft orchestra rehearsal room that also serves as a recital hall for up to 200 audience members.
    • New home for the Department of Music.
    • The building frames dramatic views of Barclay Beach, Haverford’s iconic front lawn, and is infused with balanced daylight throughout.


The new music building at Haverford College is located at the end of a sweeping natural landscape that serves as the college’s front lawn. This setting inspired the creation of an outward looking building that invites participation in
the arts, reflects the pedagogy of this liberal arts college, and puts music instruction in direct connection with this arboretum campus. The new addition, located at the rear of Roberts Hall/Marshall Auditorium, offers transparency and access to the main campus landscape through stunning views of the Duck Pond and an architecturally significant point of arrival for pedestrians and motorists, making it a highlight on campus. During evenings the lights from the recital hall make the building a beacon of the activities within, and the adjacent lobby space has already become a favorite study hideaway for students from across campus.

Informed by conversations with faculty and students, four imperatives guided design:

1. Create a new home for music that reflects the special character of Haverford.
The building is organized around a two-story lobby that serves as the “living room” for the building and where all activities are visible including the discrete activities of instruction, rehearsal, performance, and research. The lobby itself serves as the reading room for the music library and offers portals to the main rehearsal/performance space, the large music classroom, and the faculty offices. This space captures two entrances, providing a short-cut through the building that encourages non-majors to discover the music-making happening within.

2. Capture the immersive quality of being in a historic landscape.
Haverford’s campus is itself an arboretum, with expansive open spaces, hilltop quadrangles, and large heritage trees. The building is set so that the ground plane extends directly out into the landscape with views of Duck Pond to the east serving as a backdrop to performances. Natural light enters the rehearsal/performance space and the lobby from multiple directions.

3. Preserve open views from the college’s main quad out to the broader landscape.
The campus’s main quad, located at the top of the hill, is loosely enclosed by elemental stone buildings—the gaps between buildings providing powerful connections to the broader landscape. The Roberts Hall Music Building reconciles two seemingly contradicting objectives: providing a front door visible from the quad while preserving the vista between two existing stone buildings.

4. Achieve acoustical excellence.
Acoustical considerations of isolation, adjustability (tuning the hall for a wide range of ensembles), and reflection (leading to carefully sculpted surfaces) guided the project and led to its special shape and form to ensure a home for music with acoustics of the highest level.

Project Team

William Rawn Associates; Architects, Inc.; LeMessurier Consultants; Bala Consulting Engineers; Theatre Projects Consultants; Kirkegaard; Nave Newell, Inc.; The Whiting Turner Contracting Company