October 13, 2010

New England Conservatory Announces Selection of Ann Beha Architects to Design Proposed Campus Master Plan

Firm Will Create Conceptual Design Drawings and Documentation for Permitting, Regulatory Approval

Commission Marks Beha’s Return to NEC after designing Jordan Hall Renovations in 1995


New England Conservatory announces the selection of Boston-based Ann Beha Architects (ABA) to design its proposed Campus Master Plan. ABA, which will collaborate with the national firm of Gensler, was chosen from a field of six short-listed firms invited to present to an Architect Selection Committee chaired by Timothy Vaill, an NEC Trustee and recently retired Chairman and CEO of Boston Private Financial Holdings Inc. The Conservatory’s Executive Committee approved the selection Aug. 31, and the vote was ratified by the full Board of Trustees Oct. 8.

NEC’s Campus Master Plan has its roots in the institution’s Strategic Plan of 2009/10—2015/16.  One of five strategic priorities identified in that plan is “Student-centric Campus Redevelopment,” which would enhance the conservatory student experience and better position NEC to compete with its peer institutions. The Campus Master Plan is predicated on building within the Conservatory’s current campus footprint and maintaining its deliberately small student enrollment (approximately 720 undergraduate and graduate students). However, it would allow the school to house more of its students on campus and to increase amenities for resident students, NEC’s population of preparatory and continuing education students, and the public that attends performances in NEC’s concert halls. NEC recently completed a $22 million deferred maintenance/restoration project on its four campus buildings that won a 2010 Preservation Achievement Award for “Exceptional Maintenance of a Historic Property” from the Boston Preservation Alliance. The project has also been recognized for its utilization of energy efficient technology and materials.

NEC hopes to begin implementation of the Campus Master Plan in 2013. The hiring of ABA marks the first step in a process that will include submitting designs to the City of Boston for permitting approvals. Throughout the process, there will be ample opportunities to share information with the surrounding community and solicit input about the project. The school is currently studying financing options to support the Plan.

Beha’s selection marks the second commission she has held from NEC.  In 1995, she was the lead architect for the restoration of Jordan Hall, the Conservatory’s renowned, acoustically superb concert hall and a National Historic Landmark. That restoration garnered numerous awards including: a 1996 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award, the Victorian Society in America's Preservation Commendation, the 1996 Boston Preservation Alliance Award, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Award of Merit, the Illuminating Engineering Society 1996 Lumen Award, a 1996 National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award, and a 1997 Boston Society of Architects Honor Award.

ABA will work with the Boston office of Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm, with which it has partnered in the past. 

ABA has extensive experience designing college, library, and performing arts projects, many of which required special sensitivity to community, historical, and acoustic considerations. Besides Jordan Hall, the firm has been engaged in a variety of improvement/restoration projects at Boston’s Symphony Hall. The firm has also successfully completed projects that meet strict environmental sustainability criteria including the LEED™ certified Needham and Cambridge public libraries, as well as the Music Building at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (in photo) and the Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall at Wellesley College, both of which are in the process of being certified at the LEED Silver level.  Accordingly, the firm asserts its commitment to “a dynamic discourse between heritage and the future, equally dedicated to contemporary architectural expression and the revitalization of historic resources.”

In announcing ABA’s selection, NEC President Tony Woodcock, Board chair Stephen Friedlaender and committee chair Vaill praised Beha’s presentation. “We felt it represented by far the most creative and visionary approach and one which was entirely consonant with our ambitions for NEC’s future,” Woodcock said.

Ann Beha is a graduate of Wellesley College, holds a Master of Architecture Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and serves on the MIT Visiting Committee to the Department of Architecture. She was also a Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and is a Trustee of Historic New England, where she is a former President.

For further information, check the NEC Website
For further information about Ann Beha Architects, click here.

David Lamb photo Music Building, University of Pennsylvania.

ABOUT NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY

Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
617-585-1143
Ellen.Pfeifer@necmusic.edu


WHY DO I LIKE THESE THINGS? ARE MY EARS ON WRONG? CHARLES IVES