Peek Inside $100 Million Performance Tower at Berklee College of Music

The newest Berklee College building is an epicenter of recording studios, performance rooms, residence halls and a truly unique cafeteria.

Jessica Kennedy
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Even with 16 stories worth of recording studios and student dorms constructed into 155,000 square feet, John Storyk says Berklee College of Music still didn’t have enough room to include all the amenities programs directors wanted in its new 160 Massachusetts Ave building.

“Programming was a long process and involved many people and many heads,” says Storyk, cofounder, architect and acoustician of Walters-Storyk Design Group. “Everyone wanted more than we had room for.”

However, three years and $100 million later, Storyk says the new building has amped up the way the college teaches its students and expanded its class repertoire.

Peek inside the new Berklee performance tower.

While most of the building’s floors are comprised of student rooms, it also includes 21,400 square foot cafeteria and performance space, and two basement floors loaded with production studios and equipment.

Studio 1, which is located on Level A in the building’s basement, is designed to accommodate as many as 50 orchestra members, recording/mixing suites, control rooms for classes, and two ISO Booths. Studio 2, also located on Level A, features another ISO Booth and control room.

A live recording and mixing session in one of the building’s new studios.

Level A also houses a Central Machine Room, which encases half of the building’s “enhanced connectivity.”

“Upwards of 100,000 feet of cable has been linked via some 5,500 individual connectors,” Storyk says, describing the wiring connecting to the central machine room.

Level B is made up of rooms catered to small ensemble recording, Studio 3 (which contains the second Central Machine Room), another ISO Booth, Live Room, and Mastering/Critical Listening Lab. Level B also has a Dubbing Stage loaded with Dolby Atmos equipment, along with ISO Booths, Overdub Booth, and Production Control Suite.

The building’s new studios enable the college to have space for extended teaching tracks, such as dubbing/film mixing and orchestral recording/composition/scoring

Storyk, who is also a visiting professor at Berklee, says that while many of the rooms contain similar equipment, they were crafted to hold classes and to have their own signature.

“They’re teaching rooms, but each one has a slightly different flavor,” he says.