Dance Building

Ann Arbor, Michigan


University of Michigan


28,893 sq.ft.

Total Cost


Completion Date


Design Team
Peter Basso Associates Inc. (MEP); Becket & Raeder Inc. (Civil, Landscaping); Kirkegaard Associates (Acoustics and AV Design); Structural Design Inc. (Structural Engineering); Schuler Shook (Theatrical Design: Rigging, Lighting, Dance Floor); Catalyst Partners (LEED Consultants)

The first dedicated facility for the Department of Dance in University of Michigan’s history, the facility joins other creative disciplines in the North Campus. Serving performers and patrons, the building has a 100-seat performance venue, dance studios, locker rooms, and administrative space.

Much like the art of dance itself, this project balances structure, environment, and aesthetic. The challenging program of performance, rehearsal, and teaching spaces demands system sophistication. Accommodating a range of dance genres including screen dance, hip-hop, ballet, and jazz, the structure is flexible and quiet. Multiple rounds of programmatic modeling ensured efficiency of layout, massing, adjacency, audience movement, and performer comfort and accessibility. The highly responsive learning/teaching environments maintain noise separation, mechanical/electrical noise control, adaptive sound system design, natural spatial acoustical feedback, and spatial isolation to achieve optimal acoustics.

Nature is on display throughout the facility. Site planning sensitively preserves existing natural elements and turns them into a feature. Bright and airy, dance studios are strategically positioned to provide maximum views and sight to the surrounding woodlot, with high-efficiency glass introducing ample natural light.

To achieve a high level of energy efficiency, envelope analysis led to a tightly sealed rain screen system with a terra cotta tile exterior. This provides a beautiful patina and a durable exterior finish. The building is prepped for the addition of solar panels sufficient to provide full electrical support for all but performance lighting. All lighting systems are LED, including the performance/theater lighting systems. Utility systems are extended from the adjacent School of Music Building to minimize site disruption, and to provide added energy efficiency. Site drainage is heavily managed to eliminate erosion and any polluting runoff, and to control and manage storm discharge.

Additional Information

Associated Firm




Cost per Sq Ft



Post-Secondary Citation

Featured in

2022 Architectural Portfolio

Interior category

Auditoriums/Music Rooms

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