Ruby Diamond Revival: Inside Florida State University's Historic Renovation
Florida State University's historic Ruby Diamond Auditorium has been the venue for many musical performances for more than 50 years. Acts gracing the Ruby Diamond stage range from the university's symphony orchestra to country legend Willie Nelson. Now the aging auditorium is undergoing a major renovation, which will transform it into a world-class performance hall. According to College of Music Dean Don Gibson, the improvements are much needed. Although the auditorium has hosted hundreds of performances over the years, "The room itself was not set up acoustically to work with the musicians and work with the sound in a way that both the musicians and the audience could really hear what's going on." Renovations began with demolition of the existing facility in May 2008 and are anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2010. According to project architect Connor Ross of Gilchrist Ross Crowe Architects, the main signature of the project will be a new entrance featuring a monumental staircase at the north end of the building. To enhance the acoustics, the proscenium has been enlarged, allowing more music into the hall. According to Ross, "We've reshaped the walls, we have a larger proscenium, we've extended the stage this way, so in concert mode, the orchestra is right here in the room with us." According to music Dean Gibson, "The Ruby Diamond restoration is going to be a transformative project for FSU. It will be a breathtaking new artistic and intellectual gateway to the university. The College of Music has never had a large performing venue with adequate acoustics. This renovation will provide such a space.