Diller Scofidio + Renfro Selected to Design New Performing Arts Center at Holy Cross

January 15th, 2015 by 

PAC
From left, Cornelius B. Prior, Ricardo Scofidio, and President Boroughs at the announcement.

The College of the Holy Cross announced today that its new performing arts center, funded in part by a record-setting gift from alumnus Cornelius B. Prior, will be designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an internationally acclaimed design firm known for its vibrant, interdisciplinary approach.

The announcement was made by Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College, at an event in the lobby of the newest academic building on campus, the Linda and Park B. Smith Laboratories, which opened in 2009.

The performing arts center is the first project for DS+R at Holy Cross—but not the firm’s first in New England or for a college or university.  The New York-based firm is responsible for the design of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (2006), Brown University’s Creative Arts Center (2011), the University of California at Berkeley Art Museum, and the new Stanford University’s Art and Art History Building (both now under construction).  Among the firm’s other completed and in construction projects in New York City are the renovation and expansion of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts including Alice Tully Hall, the High Line Park and CultureSHED, a new cultural institution in New York’s Hudson Yards.

DS+R was selected by Holy Cross following a design competition that attracted proposals from eight of the world’s leading firms. While all the design proposals were impressive, the selection committee found DS+R’s approach distinctive in its vision for a new home on campus for hosting diverse performances and exhibits, and for nurturing creative work across disciplines.

In early 2013, the College accepted a gift of $25 million from alumnus Prior, a member of the Class of 1956, for the new building.  His donation is the largest single gift in College history.

“We are pleased to call on the extraordinary talents of DS+R to design this important new facility on our campus,” said Fr. Boroughs.  “The performing arts center has been launched because of the remarkable generosity of Neil Prior. With his transformative gift and the anticipated support of others, we are poised to realize the shared vision of Holy Cross and DS+R for a building of lasting architectural significance which will substantially enhance our academic programs.”

Construction of the $60 million project is expected to begin in 2017. Groundbreaking and construction timelines will be finalized as fundraising proceeds.  The facility is one of the major initiatives in the College’s comprehensive campaign, “Become More: Campaign for the Future of Holy Cross.”

Margaret Freije, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College and a member of the selection committee said: “DS+R brings a visually stunning approach to all their work, and we anticipate a new building that will help redefine the arts at Holy Cross.  The principals of the firm are not only architects, but are artists who understand the needs of creative performers, composers, faculty and students.”

Ricardo Scofidio, partner at DS+R, said the firm is thrilled to be selected for the project. “We feel incredibly privileged to be working with Holy Cross to imagine hybrid spaces that engender new forms of teaching, learning, and artistic creation. The building will be a cultural hub for the campus and a meaningful contribution to the performing arts typology.”

The new facility will likely be located in what are now parking lots behind Healy Hall, a student residence.  The surrounding building site will be designed to accommodate various entrance points for academic purposes, performances, and campus visitors.

The performing arts center is slated to include an acoustically superior 400-seat concert hall and theatre, serving as the College’s principal venue for symphonic music, chamber music, jazz, Gamelan, as well as opera, music theatre, and dance.  The building will also include a 200-seat flexible performance space for theatre and a high-technology “beehive” space that will support creative collaboration among students from all academic disciplines. The beehive will be programmed as a shared multimedia space for sound recording, sound editing, video editing, film, and lighting and set design, and will include collaborative work spaces, multipurpose rehearsal spaces, and gathering spaces with movable furniture.  The building will also include a lobby space and café, and support space including a scene shop, costume shop, and multiuse spaces to encourage collaboration among the arts.

Additional programming studies—including discussions with Holy Cross students, faculty, and staff involved in the performing arts—will begin immediately on campus with the DS+R designers.

An exclusively undergraduate liberal arts college with 2,900 students, Holy Cross has a distinguished faculty in the performing arts. Their creative works have been presented worldwide acclaim and have been celebrated with recognition such as a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Genius Award, three Grammy awards, along with numerous international prizes for composition and performance, as well as multiple grants from federal and regional organizations.

ABOUT DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO www.dsrny.com
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is an interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. Based in New York City, the 115-person studio is led by Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro, and Benjamin Gilmartin, who work collaboratively on the design of each project. DS+R projects include: redevelopment of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, expansion of the Museum of Modern Art, the High Line Park, and CultureSHED, all in New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; The Broad Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Image and Sound, Rio de Janeiro.

ABOUT COLLEGE OF THE HOLY CROSS www.holycross.edu
The College of the Holy Cross (holycross.edu), located in Worcester, Massachusetts, is among the nation’s leading liberal arts institutions. A highly selective, four-year, exclusively undergraduate college of 2,900 students, Holy Cross is renowned for offering a rigorous, personalized education in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition.  Since its founding in 1843, Holy Cross has made a positive impact in society by graduating students who distinguish themselves as thoughtful leaders in business, professional and civic life.

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