Bancroft school
HARRINGTON PERFORMING ARTS CENTER 

Worcester Massachusetts 1998

+ Information

Program

  • Performance hall with 370 seats and associated support spaces
  • Renovation of 5,500 sf and addition of 500 sf

Design

    The performing arts theater is the Bancroft School’s main assembly space, as well as the classroom/workshop for drama and music. First built in 1957 on a shoestring budget, the theater was gutted to the steel frame, exterior envelope, and concrete slabs, leaving the stage, structure, raked floor and lively acoustics, excellent in the high-frequency range typical for voices in a K-12 school. The design inserts and manipulates physical elements of theater—proscenium, scrim, and stage machinery—to unite theatrically stage and auditorium so the audience is enveloped in an extended space of stagecraft. The ceiling of perforated metal panels plays the leading architectural role, conceived as an extended proscenium visually drawing audience and stage together, and articulated as a scrim allowing visual and functional access to the overhead infrastructure of catwalks, bridges, lights, and mechanical systems. Perforations and gaps preserve the lively acoustics. The lobby is doubled in size and made accessible with new entry ramp and restrooms. Designed with Patricia F. MacDougall of Taylor MacDougall Burns (predecessor firm).

Sustainability

  • High-efficiency mechanical system design

Recognition

  • Honor Award for Interior Architecture, Boston Society of Architects
  • Citation for Design Excellence, AIA Central Massachusetts