Construction Complete at NEC’s Student Life and Performance Center

Boston – New England Conservatory’s students and faculty soon will perform, rehearse, and celebrate their music in a new setting — the first building added to NEC’s historic Boston campus in 60 years. The new Student Life and Performance Center (SLPC) is a 10-story structure offering spaces for preparatory and professional work, research, and experimentation.

New England Conservatory

Designed by Ann Beha Architects, in collaboration with Gensler, the SLPC offers orchestra and jazz rehearsal rooms; a black box opera theater workshop; the NEC music library; and 256 student rooms in singles, doubles and suites; with a dining commons and spaces for collaboration and community.

With two distinct masses, the SLPC building exterior is a composition of variegated terra cotta tiles, applied in mixed patterns, with broad glass expanses at street levels, and a stainless-steel screen cladding the performance wing.

Offset operable windows animate the upper floors, and north-facing open lounges offer expansive views of Boston.

At the building base, dining and performance spaces offer street views, and open stairs connect the performance and study floors, encouraging students and patrons to travel through the shared facilities.

The black box opera theater, with 225 retracting seats, is a tall, resonant space, with an orchestra pit, a mechanical gantry for scenery, lighting, and seating changes, and exceptional audience-performer proximity. It is the only facility of its kind in Boston, providing performance flexibility and opportunities for innovative musical collaboration.


New performance and rehearsal spaces are designed for concert acoustics. The music library and resource center offers access to the Conservatory’s remarkable collections, and group project and listening rooms.

With the Conservatory’s historic buildings, this architectural ensemble spans two centuries. As a “game changer” building, it confirms NEC’s and Boston’s commitment to the performing arts and to each student’s future.

Ann Beha Architects and Gensler designed and realized the building as a collaborative and integrated team. Ably assisted by their technical consultants, this is the 4th collaboration of these two firms. Others include the US Embassy in Athens, a four-building complex at the University of Chicago, and the Master Plan for the Huntington Library in California.


CM                                   Tishman/AECOM

Architect                           Ann Beha Architects

Associate Architect          Gensler

Structural Engineer          LeMessurier Consultants, Inc.

Acoustics / AV                  Kirkegaard & Associates

Code                                R. W. Sullivan Engineering

MEP / FP                          Altieri Sebor Wieber

Landscape                       Carol R. Johnson Associates

Theater Designer              Fisher Dachs Associates

Lighting Designer             Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting Inc.

Civil Engineer                    Nitsch Engineering

Food Service                     Ricca Newmark Design