A groundbreaking ceremony took place at Northwestern University in Chicago last Friday for a new $117m building to house the Bienen School of Music. The five-storey lakeside structure will house a 400-seat recital hall, rehearsal and recital rooms, soundproofed teaching studios and practice rooms, and administrative and faculty offices. It will also be home to the university's School of Communication.

The building has been designed by Chicago-based Goettsch Partners, and acoustics firm Kirkegaard Associates is involved in designing the recital hall acoustics. The Bienen School, whose string faculty includes Almita and Roland Vamos, Frank Almond and Andrew Raciti, is scheduled to move into its new home by autumn 2015.