One of the newest contributions to the Holy Cross campus and Worcester as a whole is the Prior Performing Arts Center. Designed by world renowned Architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, this contemporary campus building offers students in both the performing and fine arts fields a facility like no other in the city. This 84,000sf cultural center comes equipped with a 400 seat theater, an art gallery, and a 200 seat flexible studio space to just name a few. Sitting atop the highest spot on the Holy Cross campus, this building truly takes advantage of some of the best views of downtown Worcester.
The building itself is of a modern architectural style and is designed with organic forms and unique materials. The exterior shell of the building fits perfectly into its landscape and captures breathtaking views of the surrounding city. The contrast of materials helps to define the organic shapes showcasing a combination of concrete, corten steel paneling and glass which references back to some of the materials found on the campus. A true work of modern campus architecture.
One of the most unique interior spaces in the building is the 400 seat theater which is like no other in the city. The contrast of warm woods on the stage and flat black in the seats and railings gives a calm feeling to the spectators and makes for an enjoyable show. The lighting and acoustics in the theater is spectacular with a high attention to detail and comfort for its visitors. Unless you were to look closely, what you think are curtains surrounding the walls of the theater is actually cast concrete giving the illusion of soft curtains that are uplit. A true contemporary take off of the nostalgic idea of a theater.
The Prior Performing Arts Center appears to be a great asset to all students at Holy Cross and provides functional spaces and great educational resources to the campus. With a cafe on the ground floor of the large open multifunctional atrium space, this area makes for a great place to study and meet with friends. The main space also features small bump out cubby spaces which serve as seating areas that spectators can sit in and observe a performance below. This college campus is extremely diverse in its architectural fabric ranging from its historic brick buildings to its new contemporary center. There really isn’t any type of architecture that can’t be seen on a walk through this campus. Many might come to the new performing arts center to see a show but it’s safe to say, some might come because seeing the building is a show in itself.