Johnson & Wales University was honored with two historic preservation awards from the Providence Preservation Society for our rehabilitation work on two campus buildings, Xavier Auditorium and the Student Services Center.
In addition to exemplifying the university's demonstrable "commitment to the preservation of significant historic buildings in downtown Providence," the projects were also noted for their "extraordinary and positive contribution to the livability and the urban fabric of Providence." The two-story, 30,000-square-foot Student Services Center is one of the anchors of the Downcity Campus. The university purchased the building, the former site of Rolo Jewelry, in 1997. From 1921 until 1959, the building was owned and operated by the D.M. Watkins Jewelry Company.
The university enlisted the services of Boston-based ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge (Mass.) for the redesign.
Xavier Auditorium seats 550 in theater-quality seating. A computer-generated floor plan ensures unobstructed views, and the beauty of the original auditorium is maintained and blended with dramatic lighting and state-of-the-art technology.
The building was purchased by JWU from the Providence Diocese in 1984. The architect for the project was Lerner, Ladds and Bartels, Inc., of Providence.
Xavier Auditorium also received first place in the Commercial Interior Design category from RI Monthly Magazine for its 14th Annual Design Awards.