Troy, New York

Emma Willard School
Alice Dodge Wallace Center for the Performing Arts

The Emma Willard School is an independent day and boarding high school for girls founded in 1821. Its 137-acre campus was designed by the Olmstead brothers and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our design for the Alice Dodge Wallace ’38 Center for the Performing Arts repurposes the circa 1910 Alumnae Chapel, adds to it a new below-grade building, and connects both to the existing studio arts building, consolidating the arts in the center of the campus.  

The renovated Chapel building provides a 495-seat setting where the entire School community can gather. Improved acoustics, new lighting, and an adaptable stage provide the School with a flexible venue for theater, music, and dance. The new building includes two dance studios, a 70-piece orchestra rehearsal room, and a 100-seat black-box theater. Its below-grade placement sustainably optimizes the thermal mass of the earth while the site’s natural slope allows for perimeter windows and daylight on three sides. Its habitable green roof extends the much-valued campus landscape with unobstructed views eastward.  

Emma Willard School
In Construction | Completion 2023
Project Size
Renovation | 24,000 GSF
New Construction | 20,000 GSF
Events, Theater, Music, Dance
Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Project Team
Ann Beha FAIA, Robert Carroll AIA, Emily Bell AIA, David Elzer AIA, Ric Panciera AIA, Thomas Hotaling AIA, Kevin Morin AIA (ABA/Annum); Silman (Structural); C.T. Male Assoc (Civil); Kohler Ronan (MEPFP); Nextstage Design (Theater); IQ Landscape Architects (Landscape), Acentech (Acoustics), Available Light (Lighting), Acoustic Distinctions (Audiovisual), Consigli Construction (Construction Management)