Cambridge, MA – Acentech’s Studio A has completed consulting services for a new academic building at the Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J. Founded in 1926, it is one of the world’s leading schools of music.
Studio A provided architectural acoustics, audiovisual systems, and technology consulting for the Marion Beckelew Cullen Center, the first new building on the Westminster campus in nearly 40 years.
Studio A designed audiovisual systems for the Cullen Center, including classroom presentation systems that support choral recording, SmartBoard technology, and a large two-projector system designed for Hillman Performance Hall.
A focal point of Studio A’s acoustics recommendations, the Hillman Performance Hall can accommodate a full concert choir of 220 singers. It was carefully designed with adequate volume, appropriate shape, suitable primary finishes, acoustical treatments to vary the reverberation time, and layout to provide an excellent acoustical quality for choral rehearsal.
Designed by KSS Architects and completed in October 2014, the Cullen Center houses the 3,000sf Hillman Performance and Rehearsal Hall, a large lobby, a green room, and three flexibly configured classrooms that can accommodate a wide range of academic and choral uses. These state-of-the art spaces, strategically laid out in two wings forming an L-shape, make it possible to easily conduct many sessions simultaneously.
The two wings converge into the grand, light-filled lobby, perfect for receptions and displaying banners.
The new LEED Silver-certified building supports Westminster’s growth and broadening curriculum while providing an attractive, modern facility that fits in with its historic surroundings.
SmartBoard technology has a control booth, projectors enclosed in stow away housings, a ceiling microphone system for digital recording, and an instructor lectern with touch panel control system. The AV and network infrastructure was designed so that future distance learning equipment can be easily added.
The Hillman Performance Hall also easily supports a variety of performance group sizes, with innovative features such as the specially designed overhead reflector clusters that support good communication within the room.
“Studio A’s design of Hillman Hall provides our students and faculty with an acoustically exceptional space that supports a variety of musical uses,” said Marshall Onofrio, interim dean of Westminster Choir College. “The technology infrastructure in the hall enables us to invite guest artists to instruct classes by video, as well as stream our concerts live to the web. We look forward to utilizing the acoustical versatility of this space to share Westminster’s program with aspiring musicians around the world.”
Westminster required the highest speed telecommunications network available in order to capture and broadcast musical performances. The selected system is a state-of-the-art, robust 10G cabling infrastructure comprised of category 6A cable and termination hardware. Additionally, a wireless network supports student and faculty “bring your own device” (BYOD) demands, accounting for three wireless devices per person.