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Ford Auditorium
November 13, 2020

Berry College wins global architectural award

“Music and song are, in my opinion, so fine and necessary a part of life that without them we cannot be said really to live at all.” Henry Ford.

Berry College’s newly christened Betty Anne Rouse Bell Recital Hall at historic Ford Auditorium has earned global recognition in the Architecture MasterPrize 2020 Architectural Design competition in the category of restoration and renovation.

The historic venue underwent a $6.3 million renovation in 2019, resulting in a world-class performance space for Berry’s fine arts program. The renovation was led by architect Mark Cochran and Audrey Wynn Kendrick of Rome-based CEVIAN Design Lab. Following a plan developed by CEVIAN in conjunction with Kirkegaard Associates of Chicago, one of the nation’s foremost acoustics consulting firms, workers with JE Dunn Construction transformed the auditorium into a premier recital hall combining modern acoustics with restored historic touches.

Notable enhancements include a new oak tongue-and-groove radius ceiling and wood-carved acoustical paneling. Other improvements include new seating, a redesigned balcony, updated lighting and sound systems, an enlarged stage, and the restoration of historic features, such as woodcarvings, wood beams and stained glass, as well as the addition of mechanical curtain systems, climate-controlled instrument storage and a complete remodel of the lobby area.

Gifts from more than 500 alumni and friends supported the project.

The renovation was selected out of an international pool for Architecture MasterPrize recognition. Other winners in the category include the Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum in China, the Diamond Exchange in the Netherlands and the Riverfront Revitalization of the Prague Eyes in the Czech Republic.

Originally constructed in 1928 at the direction of automaker Henry Ford himself, the recital hall is part of the Ford Complex, a series of English Gothic style buildings on the Berry College campus renowned nationally for its great beauty.

Architecture MasterPrize celebrates the best in international architecture, interior design, and landscape. To view the complete list of MasterPrize winners, visit


Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Faythe Choate

Office of Public Relations

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