New England Conservatory Student Life & Performance Center
Award of Merit

Owner: New England Conservatory
Architect: Ann Beha Architects
Associate Architect/Architect of Record: Gensler
Construction Manager: AECOM Tishman
Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering
Structural Engineer: LeMessurier
MEP Engineer: Altieri Sebor Wieber
Acoustical Consultants: Kirkegaard Associates

For this $85-million, 140,000- sq-ft project—the first new construction project for the New England Conservatory of Music in 60 years—the team constructed several performance spaces, including a black box opera theater, orchestra practice hall and large group ensemble practice hall. The project also included a two-level library and student residence tower.

The performance spaces benefit conservatory students as well as the public, which can gather there to enjoy some 1,200 performances annually.

Building the 12-story LEED Silver-targeted facility on a tight urban site was the biggest challenge, the team says. This required careful organization with the stakeholders and the community surrounding the site.

Material deliveries, for instance, required close coordination with the trades on site in addition to employing a just-in-time schedule system because material storage space was limited.

By achieving a close working relationship with the community, the team was able to ensure that there were no disruptions to public performances at nearby Jordan Hall.

Since the orchestra rehearsal room is located directly above the black box theater, the room required construction of a spring-isolated slab and the structure below the slab had to be expanded to support the additional weight.

The theater also required a spring-isolated ceiling from which mechanical and electrical systems could be hung.