Prior Performing Arts Center, College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

The College of the Holy Cross is a leading Jesuit institution with an award-winning music and theater program, now located in the new $110M Prior Performing Arts Center. Thanks to alumni generosity, a design competition resulted in the selection of world-renowned architects DS+R, theater consultants Fisher Dachs, and acousticians and AV designers Jaffe Holden.

The acoustically superior 400-seat Luth Concert Hall and proscenium theater serves as the college’s principal venue for symphonic music, chamber music, jazz, and Gamelan, opera, music theater, and dance. We designed motorized acoustic banners, a motorized pit, and a movable orchestra shell to foster the highest level of acoustic flexibility. An inner wrapper of wooden wall and ceiling reflectors provides ideal symphonic acoustics. The Boroughs Theatre, a 200-seat flexible experimental performance space, utilizes a huge Skyfold acoustic door that when closed creates two spaces which can be used simultaneously. When open it leads to The Beehive, a multipurpose lobby, performance, and gathering space that supports creative collaboration among students from all academic disciplines. This flexible space includes a shared multimedia teaching space for electronic music and musical composition courses, sound recording, sound editing, and video and film editing.

Our AV systems are integrated into almost every space using flexible, highly robust infrastructure to accommodate current and future technologies. A central AV rack remotely connects to every AV rack in the building over a dedicated fiber-optic network. Main speaker arrays are supplemented by numerous small fill loudspeaker systems to cover all audience areas with an excellent audio experience. A rehearsal room serves as a live space for the adjacent recording studio suite which can connect to any space in the building to facilitate professional level recording. The Booth Media Lab is home to digital music composition, sound and video editing, and film, lighting, and set design. Its novel design allows for a quick transition from studio classroom into a space for performance or arts installation.

Project Information

84,000 SF
400-Seat Luth Concert Hall
200-Seat Boroughs Theatre
The Beehive
The Booth Media Lab
Recording Studio
Rehearsal / Practice Rooms and Support Spaces
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery

Design Team

Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Architect of Record: Perry Dean Rogers Partners
Theater Consultant: Fisher Dachs Associates

Construction Cost

$110 Million

Scope of Work

Room Acoustics
Sound Isolation
Sound and Vibration Control
Audio/Video Systems Design


College of the Holy Cross

Completion Date