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60 Manning Street, photo by Stephanie Ewens

Johnson & Wales University, Rehabilitation Award, Xavier Auditorium, 261 Pine Street

Built to serve St. Xavier’s Academy, a Roman Catholic high school, and now owned by Johnson & Wales University, the Xavier Auditorium was underutilized because it lacked modern amenities and was in poor condition. Johnson & Wales retained Lerner | Ladds + Bartels Architects to create a theater space that would seat over 500, accommodate university functions, and be suitable for student use.

The rake of the auditorium and balcony were adjusted and the seating layout was reconfigured, giving all 553 seats a good view of the stage. Panels and screens flanking the stage reflect sound into the audience and conceal speakers and lighting. The stage has been extended and the first few rows of seating are removable and can be stored under the stage. There is a state-of-the-art audio/visual system equipped for distance-learning, a new HVAC system, better ADA accessibility, and new lavatories. Contributors to the renovation include Agostini Construction COmpany, Gates, Leighton & Associates, and TMP Consulting Engineers. The thoughtful, well-executed rehabilitation of the Xavier Auditorium is a shining example of an institution’s stewardship of a striking private interior space