Located on a former parking lot, the new building creates a new gateway to the Colleges.
A crossroads between Music, Theatre and Dance, the lobby fosters synergy between faculty and students currently divided around campus
In addition to providing informal social space, the lobby is also a place for impromptu performances.
Building section
Spaces are designed for flexibility and can be easily reconfigured to suppport a range of uses.
Performing Arts Building, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, New York

GUND Partnership designed the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts with music, theater and dance facilities for Hobart and William Smith Colleges, located on 195 acres in the scenic Finger Lakes Region of New York state. The project replaces a parking lot and defines a new campus arrival sequence. This gateway site places the arts at the front door of campus, adjacent to the college’s main historic quad, and reaffirms the importance of the arts to the liberal arts colleges’ academic mission. The Performing Arts Building is expressive of both the campus through its architectural form, and of the arts through its internal programmatic layout. The 65,000 sq. ft. building program is broken into discrete parts that form individual identities, each serving to break the building into fine scale elements through the use of brick gabled wings, and accented by steep pitched roofs. In context, the building draws its vocabulary from Williams, Coxe and Medberry Halls, and exists in context with the Scandling Center and the Library. Those contextual elements include a tower, steep sloped roofs, warm brick and the use of stone details. The glowing jewel box entrance is anchored by a 80’ tall lighted tower. Educationally-focused, efficient and flexible, every inch of the Performing Arts Building will serve multiple functions. A central lobby unifies the complex and provides areas for gathering, and even for informal performances. Dedicated space for classrooms, practice and rehearsal rooms, costume and scene shops, dressing rooms, a box office, and control rooms support experiential learning. Performance and practice spaces will be sound-dampened and include modern lighting and sound equipment.




62,000 SF


Sections and diagrams by GUND Partnership. Photography by Todd Mason.