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Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197
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Historic Tour > Virtual Tour > Alexander Music Building

Alexander Music Building

Alexander Building

Alexander Building

Historic Name(s): Frederick M. Alexander Music Building

Date Constructed: Groundbreaking on October 14th, 1978, Opened in 1980

Architect: Wakely Associates, Inc. of Warren, MI. Contractor: Spence Brothers of Saginaw

Style of Architecture: International/Post Modern

Original Use: Music Building

Dates of Renovation: Unknown

Current Use: Music Building

History: Alexander Music Building bears the name of

Frederick M. Alexander

Frederick M. Alexander
Frederick M. Alexander, Music Department head, 1909-41. Alexander came to the Normal College at age 38, and remained until his retirement. He established his reputation in the area of choral work, becoming a national figure with his choirs. In 1929 and 1930, Alexander conducted the Massed Chorus Festival in Washington, D.C. and in 1932 he was invited to take charge of the music for the dedication of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. He died in 1955 his will providing for a sum of nearly $90,000 for the purchase and installation of a pipe organ in Pease Auditorium on EMU campus.

Wakely Associates, Inc. designed the building specifically for the needs of a music building. The building consists of 86,000 square feet and contains around 80 practice rooms of varying sizes, an organ recital room and a large recital hall with a stage and seating for 150. There are also special practice rooms intended solely for choral, band and orchestra use. Unique features of the building include special instrument repair rooms containing equipment to re-plate brass instruments and tune and repair pianos. Designers took extra steps to ensure acoustic integrity in the new Frederick Alexander Music Building. Special resilient sealants and caulking were used in place of more traditional mortar to keep sound from being transmitted throughout the structure. Electrical outlets were staggered so that no two outlets would be back-to-back in a wall. Since solid walls tend to transmit sound vibrations like a tuning fork, solid walls were broken up, and practice and recital rooms were designed with non-parallel walls.

The exterior of the building blends with adjacent structures in the fine arts complex, as well as with the campus in general. The outer shell is red brick and white concrete like Quirk Dramatic Arts Building next door. The overhanging second floor level, however, is reminiscent of Pray-Harrold. The shift from strictly box shaped modernism to more playful post-modernism is starting to appear on campus buildings.

Location - Alexander Building


Location of Alexander Music Building (Click on the image for a bigger view)