Writers Theatre raises $22 million to build Studio Gang–designed complex in Chicago

Midwest
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Studio Gang Architects' design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Studio Gang Architects’ design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Roughly one year after it announced a fundraising campaign to reinvent its home with a Studio Gang–designed “cultural destination,” Writers Theatre in suburban Glencoe said Wednesday it had raised $22 million of the $28 million needed to build the structure on Chicago’s north shore. Read More

After 200 Years, London’s Old Vic Theatre Considers a Facelift With Help From Kevin Spacey

International
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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The Historic Old Vic Theatre in London is Set for Necessary Restoration. (Courtesy Jim Lonwood / Flickr)

London’s Historic Old Vic is Set for Necessary Restoration. (Courtesy Jim Lonwood / Flickr)

Venerable old institutions in England are looking for a fresh look these days. The nearly 200-year-old Old Vic Theatre in London is the latest to make plans for a much-needed facelift. The institutions artistic director, actor Kevin Spacey, is committed to bringing the structure into the 21st century through refurbishment of the current building and expansion into a newly acquired adjacent space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Wakeup Sleepy Head, It’s Time For Design at Depaul.  Wakeup Sleepy Head, It’s Time For Design at Depaul DePaul University lays claim to many superlatives, like Largest Catholic University and other stuff. We have one: The Largest Collegiate Architectural Snoozefest. That is until now. On the heels of the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, DePaul recently cut the ribbon on its new Theater School, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli. The new building is quite literally—excuse the cliché—a breath of fresh air, clad in materials other than brick veneer. (Photo: Jeff Goldberg / ESTO)

 

Welton Becket’s Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Says Goodbye

West
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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(Courtesy Santa Monica Civic Auditorium)

(Courtesy Santa Monica Civic Auditorium)

Welton Becket’s 1958 Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, once a beacon of midcentury optimism, this weekend shuttered its doors. The bending, intricately ornamented auditorium hosted several Academy Awards in the 1960s, as well as concerts by the likes of Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, and Bob Dylan.

But the facility recently fell on hard times, as bands gravitated to larger venues (leaving it mostly hosting trade fairs), and as a planned $52 million renovation was recently cancelled when California abolished its Community Redevelopment Agencies.

Santa Monica Civic, a working group strategizing the venue’s future, told the LA Times that it will take several months to develop a new plan for the landmarked structure, including film screenings, live theater, or even restaurants.

LMN Architects’ Collaborative Sound Cloud

Fabrikator
Friday, May 17, 2013
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Brought to you with support from:
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LMN Architects designed a high-performing ceiling canopy that unifies the many features of traditional theatrical and acoustic systems. (courtesy LMN Architects)

LMN Architects designed a high-performing ceiling canopy that unifies the many features of traditional theatrical and acoustic systems. (courtesy LMN Architects)

A system of 946 unique panels will produce optimal acoustics and aesthetics at the University of Iowa’s new School of Music.

For a 700-seat concert hall at the new School of Music at the University of Iowa, Seattle-based LMN Architects wanted to design a high-performing ceiling canopy that would unify the many features of traditional theatrical and acoustic systems. The result is a 150-foot-long by 70-foot-wide surface composed of 946 suspended, intricately laced panels that incorporate complex, interdependent, and at times conflicting systems—including lighting, theatrics, speakers, sprinklers, and acoustical functionality—in a unified architectural gesture.

“The system is sculptural for sure, but it had to conceal structural truss work, which was a major cost savings as opposed to building an acoustic container,” said Stephen Van Dyck, a principal at LMN Architects. The design team worked with both parametric digital and physical models to coordinate the structural system with the acoustic, theatrical, audio/visual, lighting, fire, and material elements of the canopy. “From Day One, it was a digital model,” he said. “We needed a smaller physical model to get everyone’s head around making this happen physically. A three-foot room model has a big impact on ability to conceive.” LMN fabricated the scale model, as well as a few full-sized components, on the firm’s 3-axis CNC mill. Read More

An Afterlife for DeKalb’s Egyptian Theatre

Midwest
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, Illinois. (Courtesy Egyptian Theatre)

The Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, Illinois. (Courtesy Egyptian Theatre)

Northern Illinois may not have pyramids (you’ll have to go to elsewhere in the Midwest for that) but the Egyptian Theatre continues Pharaoh Ramses II’s reign over downtown DeKalb, IL. As this post in PreservationNation describes, the movie house has undergone a series of restoration efforts since it landed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Designed by architect Elmer F. Behrns in 1929, the theater’s pharaoh sculptures, scarab stained glass, and winged orb marquee fell into disrepair by the late seventies, when the theater closed. It reopened in 1983, but renovations continued until recently. In the last six years building rehabilitation and maintenance exceeded $1.5 million, but creative fundraising—the owners, Preservation of the Egyptian Theatre, Inc., sold the theater’s original seats when they were replaced in 2011 and even started running popular haunted tours—have helped fill the financial gap.

The building owners hope to continue renovations, including replacing the carpeting and installing air conditioning.

More photos after the jump.

Chicago’s Portage Theater Gets Landmarks Nod, Still Faces Uncertain Future

Midwest
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
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portage_theater_01

The Portage Theater, a 1920s-era theater on Chicago’s northwest side, escaped acquisition by an Albany Park church. (Eric Allix Rogers / Flickr)

Portage Park’s historic Portage Theater won a unanimous recommendation from the Chicago Commission on Landmarks last week, but the 1920s movie house isn’t out of the woods yet.

After a neighborhood church announced it would withdraw its bid to acquire the northwest side cinema, preservationists celebrated. But a September acquisition by Congress Theater owner Erineo “Eddie” Carranza left some of them with lingering doubts. WBEZ’s Jim DeRogatis reported theater owners Dennis Wolkowicz and Dave Dziedzic may have been served with a 60-day eviction notice, noting the Portage has no new bookings after mid-April.

Continue reading after the jump.

Restoration of Brooklyn’s 3,200-Seat Loew’s Kings Theater Underway

East
Thursday, January 24, 2013
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Inside Loew's Kings Theater. (Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

Inside Loew’s Kings Theater. (Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

The lights on the Loew’s Kings Theater’s marquee have been dark for over 35 years since the last showing of Islands in the Stream in 1977. In fact, the entire king-size, 3,200-seat, French-Baroque movie palace is looking quite dim these days, much of its ornate plasterwork worn, damaged, or missing from years of decay and neglect and its terra-cotta facade in need of cleaning. City officials had to string ropes of temporary construction lights through the still grandiose, if a little shabby, lobby, just to make the announcement on Wednesday that Brooklyn’s largest indoor theater is coming back to life in a big way thanks to $93.9 million in new investment from public and private sources.

Continue reading after the jump.

Another Hollywood Landmark In Trouble?

West
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
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The recently-renovated Hollywood Palladium. (Coe Architecture)

The recently-renovated Hollywood Palladium. (Coe Architecture)

Last week AN learned that Hollywood’s Capitol Records building may be in for a dwarfing by two new adjacent towers. Now we learn from our friends at Curbed that the historic Hollywood Palladium, renovated in 2008 by Coe Architects, might also be in trouble. Miami developer Crescent Heights is about pay $55 million for the Palladium site, and it’s rumored that they want to build luxury apartments or condos there. The 72-year-old theater apparently has no historic protections, so this could get ugly. Stay tuned.

Gehry Snags Another Theater In Culver City.  Gehry Snags Another Theater In Culver City Fresh off his completion of the Pershing Square Signature Theater in New York, Frank Gehry is now designing a new home for Culver City music venue Jazz Bakery.  According to the LA Times the project will be located on a narrow strip of city-owned land next to the Kirk Douglas Theatre. The plan happened quickly because the city worried that the elimination of the Culver City Redevelopment agency (which had administered the land) might ruin the project’s chances.  The theater company, which used to be located in the Helms Bakery complex down the street, wants to build a two-story building containing a 250-seat concert room and a small black box theater. The overall budget is $10.2 million, although Gehry is planning to do his part of the job for free.

 

A Peek Inside A Noise Within

West
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
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Interior of theatre; with architectural detail over walkway to seats (Michael Gutstadt)

Longtime repertory company A Noise Within (ANW) will complete its move to Pasadena at the end of October. Formerly located inside an old Masonic Temple in Glendale, it now calls Edward Durell Stone’s midcentury modern Stuart Pharmaceutical Company home. The project was carried out by John Berry Architects, Robert J. Chattel, and DLR Group WWCOT. You might remember back in May when we showed you the project still under construction. ANW staffers have now started to move in and perform technical runs for their inaugural showing of Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night.

Continue reading after the jump.

Classic Theaters of LA Come To Life

West
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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Inside the Los Angeles Theater

Tonight gives Angelenos the chance to check out the classic film The Music Man inside the Los Angeles Theater. With its glass chandeliers, Corinthian columns, and intricate Baroque details, the Los Angeles is one of the most ornate movie palaces you’ll ever visit. It’s the second week of Last Remaining Seats, the LA Conservancy’s popular series that opens up Broadway’s once great (and now mostly dormant) theaters again. That includes the Orpheum, the Million Dollar Theater, and more. This year is Last Remaining Seats’ 25th Anniversary. Other engagements include King Kong at the Los Angeles and Sunset Boulevard at the Palace. Find tickets here. More pix of theaters after the jump.  Read More

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