Wellesley College, Barstow Stage at Alumnae Hall


Ann Beha Architects’ comprehensive renovation and restoration of the Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall at Wellesley College has rejuvenated a special College resource. Alumnae Hall did not meet the needs of contemporary performance or College gatherings, compromised by poor sight lines, acoustics, accessibility, and no lobby or rehearsal spaces. Alumnae Hall now serves new audiences and programs, reflects the College’s commitment to its historic resources, and integrates contemporary design and new academic and community programming within the historic setting.

To provide a welcoming lobby space, the Design Team reconsidered the arcaded portico at the Hall’s north entry. The original bluestone floor was salvaged and raised to the level of the main auditorium corridor. New glass panels and doors were carefully inserted into the original limestone portals, providing a well lit gathering space for arriving audiences.

In the auditorium, the floor was re-poured and re-raked, and new staggered seating installed, configured to improve circulation, sight lines, and accessibility. Original wall and ceiling murals were discovered in the attic, as well as original glass and brass chandeliers, which were refurbished, supplemented with energy efficient accent lighting. Onstage, new rigging, theatre lighting, and audio-visual systems support lectures and theatrical productions.

  • Client: Wellesley College
  • Architect: Ann Beha
  • Completion Year: 2010
  • Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Acoustician: Kirkegaard Associates
  • Capacity: 1,000 seats

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