Minnesota Orchestra Hall Expansion

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Architect: Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg
  • Client: Minnesota Orchestra

Project Highlights

  • Structural steel expansion of public spaces
  • Cast-in-place shear walls
  • MBJ structural engineer on original 1972 building


In 1972, Meyer Borgman Johnson provided structural engineering services for the then brand new Minnesota Orchestra Hall. Although most of the budget went into creating a high-quality performance hall, the lobby was enlarged from the original plans, upon insistence of the architect, to accommodate 850 people, a wise decision given the hall’s success over the past 30-plus years. Enclosed in glass curtainwall and stone on precast concrete wall panels, the 2013 expansion nearly doubles public spaces to serve 2200 patrons and updates the design of the entire space. In an area of the lobby called the City Room, glass walls are removable, blurring the distinction between indoor and outdoor space. Additional bathroom facilities and a new elevator and escalator are also part of the expansion. The primary structural system is structural steel. Floors are composite slabs on structural steel framing, and lateral loads are resisted with cast-in-place shear walls. Foundations are drilled caissons to rock and conventional spread footings.