Benjamin and Marion Schuster Hall

Wright State University, located in Dayton Ohio has, since its inception in the 60s, been a pioneer in barrier free access to students who might be considered handicapped. Long before building codes required barrier free access, Wright State was doing it on their own.

The sights on campus are impressive. There are a lot of wheelchairs around. Which brings to mind the awful thought that, before Wright State did their pioneering work, these people couldn't get a university education. Now they can.

But the job is never done and rooms can always be made better. Such was the case with their recital space, the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Hall. There were three fundamental components to the renovation commission: improve the room’s appearance to attract new students, improve the acoustics for the same reason, and make it barrier free to all.

To improve the acoustics the ceiling was removed, effectively raising the height of the room by 12 feet (4 m), the ventilation noise was markedly reduced with a bottom up displacement HVAC system, acoustic curtains were introduced for flexible acoustics and an ACS electronic enhancement system was installed for even greater acoustical flexibility. And now, in keeping with the university’s credo, there is barrier free access from the lobby to the audience and directly from the audience to the stage.
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Architect: H3 Architects
Theatre Consultant: Jones & Phillips Associates
Acoustician: John O'Keefe