Worcester Memorial Auditorium
- City of Worcester
- DBVW Architects
- HOK Architects
Marchand Meffre, Jason Baker
The Worcester Memorial Auditorium is a magnificent performance venue that towers above Worcester’s Lincoln Square. Known locally as the Aud, the five-story structure was erected in 1933 to honor the sacrifices of local residents during the war. It includes a 31,000 SF auditorium with a 107-rank Kimball pipe organ; the adjacent “Little Theater,” where audiences enjoyed films; and the Shrine of the Immortal, a memorial hall commemorating the city’s WWI dead, decorated with beautiful murals by Leon Kroll. Throughout the twentieth century, the Aud was the center of Worcester’s civic and cultural life. Concerts, NCAA basketball games, graduations, and charity events all took place in the building.
AHF has a contract with the City of Worcester to spearhead the redevelopment of the Aud. The vision is to create a multi-purpose, technology-forward, entertainment, and economic development facility that lives at the intersection of the virtual and physical world. The venue will house “emerging events” including esports as well as augmented reality and virtual reality programming, robotics competitions, immersive exhibits and other contemporary performances. Located adjacent to WPI, the Aud will also be a state-of-the-art center for discovery, training and education with an on-site coding academy and a focus on STEAM, innovative technology, and the digital media industry.
To date, AHF has invested more than $2M in hard and soft costs to move the project forward. This includes demolition of the mold-ridden interior finishes in the basement in order to showcase the space for future activation. AHF is working closely with architects DBVW and HOK to develop 25% schematic design drawings which will support Historic Tax Credit applications. AHF has also received part 1 approval from the National Park Service for the construction of a new, contemporary, accessible entrance.
AHF has created a vision and business plan for the property redevelopment and built awareness for the project while identifying and engaging with prospective project partners, tenants, government officials and investors. With its Classic Revival exterior and Art Deco interiors juxtaposed against modern amenities, the Auditorium will be one of the most unique venues in the country. The redevelopment of Worcester’s most iconic building will be a legacy project for the City of Worcester and its current and former residents.