The Laszlo Z. Bitó ’60 Conservatory is a new building for the Bard College Conservatory of Music. At once a teaching facility and a first-rate venue for the performance of music, the Conservatory alternates effortlessly between these two specific modes. The 16,000 square-foot building contains teaching studios, classrooms, and a large multi-purpose performance room. This room, acoustically-tuned for unamplified music, allows for a variety of uses including small operettas, dance, and multi-media projection. Two teaching studios are accessible from the stage and double as pre-performance green rooms; all studios are sized to accommodate both individual musicians as well as small ensembles. Bard’s goal of fostering collaboration within the arts is reinforced by a dedicated student lounge.
The Conservatory Building, which is exceptionally adaptable to the alternating purposes of teaching and performance, nonetheless conveys the stability and constancy of the enduring institution. The building design achieves this balance in program and communicates it on the building’s exterior by juxtaposing two materials.: smooth white stucco covers the slightly arching primary form while dark masonry boldly accentuates strategic volumes. The clarity of the white mass interacts with the texture of the richly-glazed volumes to underscore the balance of the Conservatory as an environment open to the evolution of musical expression and a lasting institution with a rich history and tradition of excellence.