Red Bull Music Academy
Greg Irikura

Red Bull Music Academy

Inaba Williams Architects as Architects

Inaba Williams was asked to transform four floors of a vacant building in New York's Chelsea neighborhood into a model learning environment. Dramatic walls and lighting create unique collaborative spaces that replace the traditional classroom.


Curving walls throughout the 38,000 square foot forum shape the distinctive areas. On the ground level the walls extend far into the former warehouse allowing passersby and users unrestricted views across the floor. They show a cross section of the types of activity taking place, which include performances, private workshops, music production and post-production, and broadcasting. Below, on the cellar level, the arcing walls of the capsule-shaped lounge are interrupted to establish long views from the recording studio at the south end to the open-air patio at the north. On one of the upper floors, the similarly rounded walls enclose eight collaborative music studio pods.


In an interior that is used at all hours of the day, the lighting plays a key role in establishing the architectural atmosphere. During the day the central area on the ground level receives generous amounts of natural light from high floor-to-ceiling windows, while at night it is illuminated by rows of warm-colored custom-fabricated neon fixtures. The overall lighting is accented with various feature elements like diffused LED lighting that illuminates the radio studio and a programmable LED system that focuses light on rows of acrylic tubes above the bar. The cellar lounge has a ceiling embedded with hundreds of linear LED fixtures to create a distributed field of light. Curved FRG light diffusers lend an intimate quality to the auditorium while the ceiling structure supports light riggings for more theatrical effects. In smaller ancillary spaces, colored neon and grazing fixtures are employed in combination with high saturation paint.

Material Used :

1. Furniture – Furniture Masters, New York, NY

2. Radiators - Runtal

3. Millwork – Bauerschmidt & Sons, St Albans, NY

4. GRFG Panels – Moonlight Molds, Gardena, CA

Project team
Executive Architect
Structural Engineering
Environmental Graphics / Wayfinding
Product Specifications
Foundation for Polish Science Headquarters
next project

Foundation for Polish Science Headquarters

Warsaw, Poland - Build completed in 2014
View Project

Want to see more like this?

Subscribe to Archello's newsletter