Florida Gulf Coast University

Music Education and Performance Building

Fort Myers, Florida

Following our completion of an overall master planning effort to establish an identifiable arts precinct on campus, we were hired to design one of its initial buildings. The new Bower School of Music building replaced temporary facilities that for a number of years housed the School’s programs. The new music building features a 200-seat recital hall. Inspired by the acoustician’s design criteria for angled walls to focus and disperse sound reflections, we designed a series of origami-shaped wood panels to define the volume of the room. The transformation of a flat rectangular sheet of paper into a highly articulated multi-dimensional surface became the object of many hours of paper folding and geometrical calculations to obtain the proper angles of reflectivity. Another feature of the building is the acoustically isolated “perches” that look into the rehearsal room, encouraging students to unobtrusively watch and listen to live rehearsals.

Project Data

58,000 sf

Program & Highlights

200-seat recital hall
100-seat rehearsal hall
Teaching studios and practice rooms
Music library

"Music Education & Performance Building, Florida Gulf Coast University," Design Cost Data Magazine, Nov/Dec 2011

Stephanie Bordan, "From origami to your ears: Sophisticated acoustics help busy new FGCU hall create dynamic sound," naplesnews.com, November 17, 2011

"The Origami Effect," florida/caribbean Architect, Spring 2011

John Francis, “A Home of its Own, FGCU” Bower School of Music now has a facility to match its ambition," Naples Daily News, November 28, 2010

Leslie Williams Hale, "FGCU's Bower School of Music opens with hall engineered to enhance and contain sound," Naples Daily News, August 13, 2010


Structural Engineer: TKW Associates
Civil Engineer: Johnson Engineering, Inc
MEP: OCI Associates
Theater: Theatre Consultants Collaborative, LLC
Acoustics: Jaffe Holden Acoustics
Lighting: Reynolds, Smith and Hills
Landscape Architect: Reynolds, Smith and Hills
Photographer: Christopher Payne

“The recital hall is simply stunning, visually and acoustically. . . Designed for choral, chamber and solo music, it is definitely a destination on the FGCU campus and for Southwest Florida.”
— Rod Chestnutt, Associate Professor and Head of Instrumental Studies, Bower School of Music