The Washington Conservatory of Music, a nationally accredited music school, required a new performance, classroom, and office space to support its role as the resident music program at the historic Glen Echo Park.

The challenge involved the creative and efficient use of space within two existing garage bays at the former amusement park, now operated by the National Park Service. The two-level space accommodates a recital hall, two classrooms, a galley kitchen, and a soundproof recording studio on the first floor and a listening lab and two studios in the upstairs loft.


  • Conversion of 1,800 SF of existing space into a two-level, multipurpose music school facility, with a recital hall, classrooms, studios, and offices
  • Versatile design optimizes use of compact space
  • Advanced technology supports sophisticated audio-visual requirements
  • Creative sustainable strategies including floors made of recycled tires
Vibrant colors and playful graphics enliven the entire space.A mezzanine loft was created to maximize use of the 1,800-square-foot space.The main floor includes the recital hall as well as public reception space, two sound-blocked classrooms, a kitchen, restrooms, and storage.


To maximize the compact, 1,800-square-foot space in the park’s Arcade building, the design team created an upper-level mezzanine over approximately half of the main floor area. A 17-foot-high, curved wall bifurcates the main floor, creating the performance area on one side and a reception space, kitchen, and two classrooms on the other. The performance area can be divided by movable partitions into two or three instructional spaces. The loft houses additional studios and offices, with open circulation providing a visual connection between the two levels. 

“The conservatory can now boast what may be the most efficiently used 1,800 square feet in Bethesda…it looks like an environmentally friendly space, and it is.”

Rebecca Ritzel, The Washington Post


Playful graphics and engaging colors enliven the space, designed to appeal to youthful students and audiences. The curved wall features floor-to-ceiling musical graphics. The original arcade garage door anchors the rear of the space. 


Rather than build a new facility, the conservatory repurposed existing space within the historic park. Many fixtures and accessories were reused and repositioned. Recycled rubber-tire flooring is used throughout the main floor.  


“Washington Conservatory’s Michael Adcock Helps Open Group’s Glen Echo Park Space” 
Washington Post, August 3, 2009 
“Washington Conservatory of Music Celebrates Move” 
The Montgomery Gazette, 2010