Johnson & Wales University, Xavier Auditorium

Providence, Rhode Island

  • FIRM

    Lerner Ladds + Bartels


    Johnson & Wales University

  • AREA

    13,500 sq.ft.





Xavier Academy Hall was built decades ago as a Catholic school on a site bordering both an industrial district and a university campus. Over time, it had fallen into disrepair.

Johnson & Wales University, the current owner, asked the architect to renovate the auditorium space in order to create a 500-seat venue for university functions and gatherings, as well as a ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY553COST PER SQ FT$214.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio for student use. The theater space received a full renovation. The rake of the auditorium and balcony was adjusted, and the seating layout was reconfigured to ensure that each seat has a good view of the stage. Paying close attention to acoustics, the architect designed a series of panels and screens to flank the stage, reflecting sound into the audience while concealing speakers and lighting, and effectively expanding the proscenium enclosure to embrace the extended stage.

Other features include a new audiovisual system with distance-learning capabilities, a new HVAC system, improved accessibility for those with disabilities, and new lavatories, making the theater a self-sufficient entity.