College of William & Mary Performing Arts Complex

Arts Quarter Plays In Concert With Its Context

The College of William and Mary was founded nearly a century before the United States itself. Its campus, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, encompasses several historic buildings, including the Wren Building, whose cornerstone was laid in 1695. Many of these buildings feature a unique brick color blend in a Flemish bond pattern, a signature campus aesthetic.

Given the beauty and history of the campus, the design of new buildings is carefully considered. When planning the new arts quarter, our design team took stock of the existing materials and motifs in the campus architecture. But school officials also wanted the arts cluster—including renovated facilities for theater, dance, and studio art, as well as a new building for music—to have a distinct identity and contemporary aesthetic. We responded with designs skinned in the campus’ traditional Flemish bond brick, supplemented with glass and metal: striking in beauty yet integrated in context.

The new arts complex supports instruction and extra-curricular activities in music, theater, speech, dance, studio art, and art history. The addition of the new music building and the transformation of existing arts buildings—previously introverted structures with few windows, offering little sense of what went on inside—resulted in a dynamic new campus precinct. The buildings express to students, faculty, and the community the university’s dedication to nurturing, understanding, and promoting the arts in all its forms.