Posts tagged with "Theaters":

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The Wharf, D.C.’s massive waterfront development, is now open

The Wharf–a $2 billion new development on a former industrial stretch of the D.C. waterfront–has finally opened. The developers are Madison Marquette and PN Hoffman, and the master architect and planner is Perkins Eastman. Previously the site was a mile-long stretch of boat storage, industrial space, and some back-door barbecue joints. At its northern end, it also includes the oldest fish market in the United States. Before the Wharf could be built, the existing seawall and promenade were torn up and replaced by an underground, two-story parking garage spanning the length of the development. The garages connect from below into an array of luxury residential structures with ground-level commercial space–restaurants, yoga studios, and other amenities. Last week all of these opened to the public–in total, 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use space including office structures, luxury and affordable residential space, a marina, and waterfront parks. The fish market was the only structure preserved as-is. The Anthem, a new 6,000-person theatre venue, is a cornerstone development of the Wharf. Designed by New York-based Rockwell Group, the venue is essentially a concrete volume hedged in by two L-shaped residential structures. The Anthem has a warehouse-like interior and two levels of balconies split into smaller, drawer-like extrusions. Massive steel panels flank the stage, laser cut and illuminated with the pattern of two enormous curtains drawn back, resembling the velvet drapery of Baroque theaters. The space is managed by a 30-year old staple organization in D.C. entertainment–the 9:30 Club–to whom the Wharf reached out in the initial stages. The building’s board-form concrete paneling and industrial facade are intended as a nod to the Club’s famed punk-laden lineups. In the lobby, one can look up through an installation of floating cymbals to four rectangular skylights three floors up. If you look closely, the skylights ripple with water–the underbelly of a pool for a residential structure stacked above. A key design challenge for the Anthem was its siting between two residential structures. To address the noise issue, Rockwell spent several million dollars designing a multi-layered sound barrier between the structures, which are reportedly so effective that amplified concerts are inaudible from the interiors of apartments less than a hundred feet away. Supposedly, a resident could sleep soundly while Dave Grohl shredded away on opening night. The Anthem's neighboring structures include designs by FOX Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Perkins Eastman, Parcel 3A, Cunningham Quill Architects, BBG_BBGM, Handel Architects, WDG Architecture, Studio MB, SmithGroup JJR, MTFA Architecture, SK&I, and Moffatt & Nichol. Only Phase One has opened. Phase Two will add an additional 1.2 million square feet to the overall site footprint, mostly extending south. The roster of new structures will include designs by firms such as SHoP Architects, Rafael Viñoly, Morris Adjmi Architects, Hollwich Kushner (HWKN), ODA, WDG Architecture, and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA). The expansion will include increased office and residential space, an additional pier and marina, as well as increased park space. Phase One is notably without much public greenery. The construction of Phase Two is slated to begin in 2018, with a projected opening of 2021.
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Disney will recreate this historic Kansas City theater

It is not likely that anyone has first-hand memories of the Willis Wood Theatre. Designed by noted Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss, and built in 1902, the impressive Beaux Arts theater burned to the ground in 1917. One hundred years later, as part of a major announcement at the D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced it will be building a replica of the long-gone theater at near Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom. The choice of a theater that no one has seen in a century is not random. Kansas City was the boyhood home of Walt Disney. Disney moved to Kansas City at the age of nine from Marceline, Missouri. While the small town of Marceline is the basis for the Main Street U.S.A. area at Magic Kingdom, there are also many references to Kansas City in the middle America–themed amusement park. In particular, signs from Kansas City's Laugh-O-Gram Studio, the studio in which Walt Disney invented Mickey Mouse, can be found throughout. While it is not known whether Disney ever attended shows at the Willis Wood Theatre, historians think it is likely. It is known that 33rd President Harry S. Truman frequented the theater to see Shakespeare plays performed. Built by Colonel Willis Wood, a successful dry goods merchant, the theater hosted live performances until being converted into a movie theater. Today the site of the block-and-half-long theater is home to the Mark Twain tower, a historic landmark in its own right. With no chance of the theater every being rebuilt in its original location, it would seem central Florida will be the place for those looking for turn-of-the-century Kansas City. The real question is whether the new theater's interior will match the reds, greens, blues, and gold that reportedly adorned the original, and whether the large nude caryatids will once again fill the main theater space.
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A look inside Flint’s historic Capitol Theatre restoration

After the announcement of it restoration earlier this year, the first images of the refurbished interior of the iconic Flint Capitol Theatre have been released. Opened in 1928, the theater was designed by John Eberson and played host to many of the world’s largest acts until it closed in 1990. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1985, the theater can seat 1,600 under a deep blue ceiling. Intended to evoke a Mediterranean courtyard, lighting effects mimic the changing light of sunset into a night sky. The space is filled with ornate plasterwork and statuary, making it the most lavish of the region's theaters. “The Capitol Theatre is a symbol of the resilient spirit of Flint and we are so looking forward to once again filling its halls with vibrant performances and programming that welcome the community back to this beautiful and historic space,” said Jarret M. Haynes, executive director of The Whiting, in a press release. Haynes is one of the lead partners spearheading the Capitol Theatre project along with the not-for-profit Uptown Reinvestment Corporation. “We are excited to launch a new era of live entertainment within this architectural gem and serve generations to come.” A series of soft openings and activities will reintroduce the public to the building starting in September. This first series of events is set to include film screenings, free performances by local groups, as well as tours of the buildings. The inaugural full season will begin in November, with programming soon to be announced. It is expected that the theater will host around 100 events a year entertaining 60,000 visitors annually.
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THEVERYMANY plants a zippy green theater in a Maryland park

Amid a park in the Baltimore suburbs lies a new outdoor theater by MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY that's as green as the new leaf. The New York design studio's Chrysalis Amphitheater, a sinuous shingled pavilion whose form follows its name, features two stages for semi-outdoor performances and events. Stage A, the larger of the two, is equipped for larger performances and is kitted out for musical equipment and lighting rigs. Stage B, with its platform stage and steps that double as seating, is meant for smaller events. Other arches double as apertures for a staircase, balconies with city views, and a loading dock. The project broke ground in Columbia, Maryland's Symphony Woods Park in October 2015. Commissioned by park stewards Inner Arbor Trust, its shape references the curvy roots of the Swamp Cypress, a native tree. To achieve its curvature without adding too much weight the structure, Fornes, in collaboration with engineers at Arup, drew a flat digital mesh and transformed its segments into differentiated spring systems. Constraints for pleating were added to the system during inflation to give the structure extra depth, while ARUP engineered a steel-tubed exoskeleton and created 70-point loads that can each hold up to 2,000 pounds. Zahner fabricated the Chrysalis's 7,700 shingles, which are painted four different shades of electric green. “We want to provide not just a destination, but an experience for the morning jogger, the Sunday walker, the afternoon stroller, as well as anyone who is actually there for a show,” said Marc Fornes, principal of THEVERYMANY, in a prepared statement. “It is an amphitheater, yet it is first a pavilion in the park, an architectural folly, a tree house and a public artwork, ready to be engaged and activated at any given moment.”

THEVERYMANY first developed its idea with a similar, but smaller, installation in France. That project, Pleated Inflation, was installed at a school in Argeles, near the border with Spain.

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Landmarks approves new building around historic movie palace

This week the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) cleared the way for the owner of a historic but dilapidated theater to build a new structure around the interior and replicate its historic features, leaving the aura—but little of the original—in place. The movie theater, RKO Keith’s, is one of the city's only surviving "atmospheric" theaters built in the early 20th century. Abandoned since the mid-1980s, the opulent Churrigueresque structure's interior was landmarked in 1984, though a series of owners did little over time to curtail extensive deterioration inside. Now, a new owner, Xinyuan Real Estate, has hired Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to transform the Flushing, Queens building into 16 stories of offices and apartments. (Last week AN contributor Edward Gunts covered the theater's history and the current development.)
At a Tuesday meeting, the LPC voted unanimously to re-authorize a previously issued Certificate of Appropriateness to build out Pei Cobb Freed's vision and undertake preservation work on the interior. Plans call for retail and an apartment lobby to be built around the 1928 theater's landmarked ticket lobby and grand foyer (the rest of the interior was initially landmarked, but its protections were removed by the Board of Estimate after an appeal by an owner). Significant architectural elements will be conserved, while those too damaged for conservation or missing will be replicated offsite and reinstalled in the theater. Those changes, the LPC said, will be reviewed and permitted at staff level. Pei Cobb Freed is collaborating with New York–based historic preservation firm AYON STUDIO on the project. During the meeting, AYON founding principal Angel Ayón explained how steel trusses will span the landmarked interiors on the east-west and north-south axes to preserve the cavity as construction on the new building gets underway. When the architects have a new envelope, the team will be able to reinstall the plaster, woodwork, and new curtains. Ayón likened the work on the decorative features to the preservation of Times Square's Lyric Theater, which underwent a similar process to remove and conserve ornamental plaster.

The LPC is working with the owner to make sure plaster gets put back in place. The two parties agreed to $10 million bond for storage and periodic inspection of the plaster, though the commission said those details still being hammered out. One major requirement of interior landmarks is that they remain open to the public. Patrick Waldo of preservation advocacy group Historic Districts Council (HDC), as well as Christabel Gough of the Society for the Architecture of the City, raised concerns about the accessibility of a space that fronts a future (private) apartment lobby. HDC "strongly" suggested the street entrance be re-examined to expose the interior more fully; at the very least, the group recommended strong wayfinding signage to alert the public to the presence of the landmark.

To the knowledge of those in the room, there hasn't been another instance where an interior was preserved but the building around it demolished. Echoing others, Commissioner Frederick Bland summed up the situation as "very strange." With much of the theater's ornamentation slated for replication, “This is one of the strangest, if not the strangest, situation I’ve seen as a commissioner,” he said. “At what point is a landmark lost?"

To get more insight into the theater's place in New York history, Gunts reached out to Anthony Robins, a former senior preservation specialist at the agency who wrote the original designation report, for more on RKO Keith's. Here's what he had to say:

The recent history of the RKO Keith’s—once a mainstay of Flushing—has been dismal. Designed by Thomas Lamb—perhaps New York’s most prolific theater designer—it was planned originally as a vaudeville theater, with movies more or less an afterthought. Lamb designed it as a so-called “atmospheric” theater, attempting to create the illusion that the theater’s customers were seated outside, under the stars, in a picturesque Spanish village. The Spanish-inspired ornament ran throughout the theater into all its major spaces. Located at the major intersection of Main Street and Northern Boulevard, the Keith’s became a very visible institution in the neighborhood.
By 1984, the Keith’s, still in use as a movie theater, was one of only three major “atmospheric” theaters surviving in New York City (the others being the Loew’s Paradise in the Bronx and the Valencia in Queens, both now official landmarks). The Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation of the Keith’s entire interior that year was cut back at the Board of Estimate to include just the grand foyer—apparently because a politically connected developer wanted to include the site in a proposed new shopping mall. That plan evaporated, as did the plans of a subsequent developer, but the Keith’s remained shuttered; for 30 years it has sat vacant, decaying and crumbling, its interiors long since vandalized, even as other grand movie palaces have been lovingly restored. Now comes the ultimate indignity of the proposed demolition of the theater shell, and the grand foyer’s disassembly and reconstruction, all by itself, as an odd relic of a vanished theater from another era. There can be no happy ending for this story.
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T+E+A+M tapped to design this year’s Ragdale Ring outdoor theater

For the past four years, Ragdale, an artist residency in Chicago’s North Shore, has asked young architects to reimagine a historic garden stage that was once a focal point of its property. In these short years, the Ragdale Ring competition, and the accompanying Adrian Smith Prize, have proven to be architecturally adventurous, and often playfully eccentric.

This year’s iteration will be built by the Ann Arbor, Michigan–based T+E+A+M, a collaboration among young designers Thom Moran, Ellie Abrons, Adam Fure, and Meredith Miller. Their proposal, entitled LIVING PICTURE, superimposes images of the original 1912 Ragdale Ring onto a set of lightweight objects spread throughout the grounds. The scene of the original ring will be an immersive, if not surreal, space for the audience to become part of the theatrical setting. The varied scale of the objects also allows for the audience to position itself in relation to the stage, either sitting on or standing among the installation. The shapes, which make up the stage itself, will blend historic imagery with the lush surroundings of the property.

While the imagery on the installation will mostly be seen as disparate yet related images, audience members approaching from the Ragdale House will see the entire original Ring snap into view. Watching from the other approaches, viewers will discover the scene as a series of separate vignettes of the original.

“At the beginning of this year we suspended our individual practices and committed fully to T+E+A+M, but the fact that the four of us have practiced individually is one of the unique strengths of our collaboration,” Fure explained. “Each of us has different audiences through our previous work’s engagement with conversations inside and outside the discipline.

The objects will range in form, making up seating areas and platforms for performances. Arranged in seven clusters, most of the objects will also be hollow to provide storage. Their arrangement centralizes the audience while providing masked areas where performers can enter from stage-side.

The project will be built in late May, to be ready for four performances starting in mid-July. T+E+A+M, along with a group of workers, will live at Ragdale for 18 days to build the installation. The Adrian Smith Prize, sponsored by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, provides $15,000 for the construction.

The members of T+E+A+M are not strangers to exhibition and installation building. Between the four members, their work has been shown in multiple Venice biennales and at the Beijing International Art Biennale, the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Biennale, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Graham Foundation, to name just a few.

T+E+A+M will join the ranks of past Ragdale Ring designers SPORTS Collaborative, Bittertang, Design With Company, and Stephen Dietrich Lee. Last year’s iteration by SPORTS, entitled Rounds, won The Architect’s Newspaper’s 2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation.

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Historic Queens movie palace threatened with demolition

A 1928 vaudeville and movie palace in Queens by architect Thomas Lamb would be substantially demolished and replaced with a 269-unit residential tower designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, under a plan that New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will consider Tuesday. RKO Keith’s Flushing Theater at 135-29 Northern Boulevard in Queens is the building that would be replaced by a residential tower. Along with the Valencia, in Jamaica, Queens, the RKO Keith’s appears to be one of two surviving "atmospheric" theaters of note still standing in New York in good condition, according to architectural historians. Originally seating 2,974 but closed since 1986, it featured marble staircases, an indoor fountain, gilded plasterwork and chandeliers in the auditorium, and a vaulted blue ceiling with lights that simulated stars. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The owner and developer of the Queens property is Xinyuan Real Estate, a Chinese firm that bought it last year for $66 million. Xinyuan is seeking to raze the bulk of the theater to make way for its project. The plan requires approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission because the city has designated part of theater an interior landmark, and that means it can’t be altered without approval from the preservation panel. The theater as a whole was landmarked in 1984, as the best one of only two surviving movie palace atmospheric theaters in New York City, based in large part on the preserved condition of its auditorium and the reversible nature of its division into a three-screen cinema. That designation was later amended by the city's Board of Estimates to remove the auditorium and the majority of the theater, leaving landmark protection for the ticket lobby, original ticket booth, grand foyer, ceilings, and fixtures and interior components of these areas. The LPC issued a permit in 2005, extended to late 2017, to demolish all but the designated sections. After the transfer of ownership in 2016, with a new architect attached, the LPC has an opportunity to review an expiring Commission decision from 2005, when Queens was not as vibrant as it is today, and when the city approved substantial demolition of an exceedingly rare New York-specific community-centered building type in order to spur residential development in the area. Xinyuan, based in Beijing, is the latest in a series of owners who have attempted to redevelop the property. The developer has proposed to temporarily remove and restore plasterwork and other ornamental features from the protected section of the theater, while work on the residential tower is underway. It would then reinstall the plaster pieces as part of the replacement structure. The reinstalled sections would presumably provide a reminder of the larger theater that previously occupied the site and help attract residents. According to documents on file with the city, the developer’s application is to re-authorize a Certificate of Appropriateness for the construction of a new building to enclose the interior landmark, and to “disassemble, restore off site, and reinstall salvaged ornamental plasterwork and woodwork and replicas.” Ayon Studio is listed in the application as coordinating the preservation-related aspects of the lobby rehabilitation. Drawings on file with the city indicate that the Pei Cobb Freed tower would be 16 stories tall and glass-clad. It would be H-shaped in plan, with walls and balconies facing Northern Boulevard and other streets at a slight angle. The ground level would contain commercial space, and underground parking would be provided for about 300 cars. The exterior would show no trace of the Thomas Lamb theater currently on the site. Atmospheric theaters closely followed the designs of planetariums and were first designed by Austrian-born theater architect John Eberson in 1923. The first was the now-demolished Majestic Theater in Houston (1923), where the auditorium ceiling simulated the night skies, with hidden machinery that projected "clouds" moving across the plaster ceiling, painted deep blue with star-like electric lights, with walls often built up in stages for the effect of garden follies. Reproduced around the country in a variety of architectural styles, these theaters recognizably featured an open, lit evening sky with stars and clouds, and walls built up, symmetrically, as stage sets suggesting a foreign setting. Eberson wrote that, "We visualize and dream a magnificent amphitheater, an Italian garden, a Persian Court, a Spanish patio, or a mystic Egyptian templeyard, all canopied by a soft moonlit sky." Although Eberson was the originator of this type, Lamb, already the most prolific movie palace architect, became well associated with this type of movie palace, especially in New York. A survey of the country's movie palaces cites 27 major New York examples. Seven of these were designed as "atmospherics" out of 34 listed from across the country: the RKO Keith's, the now-demolished Triboro in Astoria, Queens, the Valencia in Jamaica, Queens, the now-demolished Loew's 72nd Street (in Manhattan), Pitkin in Brownsville, Brooklyn (now retail), the Paradise in the Bronx (now a church), and the Brooklyn Paramount (now a school gymnasium). In its heyday, the RKO Keith’s attracted performers such as Judy Garland, Mae West, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and the Marx Brothers. Xinyuan's application notes that precedents for temporary removal and installation of ornamental plasterwork include the Lyric, Apollo, Selwyn (also known as the American Airlines and the Roundabout), and Eltinge (also known as the Empire and AMC 25) theaters in Times Square. Other Xinyuan projects include The Oosten in Williamsburg and a 100-unit development in Hell’s Kitchen. JK Equities was the seller of the RKO Keith’s. The hearing on the theater is scheduled to start around 9:30 a.m. at 1 Centre Street, ninth floor.  If the project is approved, according to the application, the developers would remove the ornamental plasterwork and other protected material this spring and start tearing down the surrounding structure in the fall. Their schedule calls for construction of the residential tower to begin in the spring of 2018 and be complete by the spring of 2020. For more details on the hearing, see the LPC's web page here.
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Theaters nationwide dim lights in honor of architect Hugh Hardy, who passed away last week

Theaters in New York City and around the country dimmed their marquee lights last night in honor of Hugh Hardy, the architect who passed away this month at age 84. Hardy helped restore many of New York’s best-known theaters, including Radio City Music Hall, the New Amsterdam, the New Victory, and the Majestic Theater. He died, ironically, after suffering a fall on March 15 while on the way to see a dance performance at one of the theaters he worked on, the Joyce. He died two days later and, according to his office, there was no funeral service. The tribute was organized by the Joyce Theater Foundation, operator of the Joyce Theater at 175 Eighth Avenue. “We at The Joyce, one of the many theaters that Hugh designed, are working to organize a tribute to Hugh, who gave so much to the arts, culture, and architecture communities here in New York and beyond,” executive director Linda Shelton wrote to theater operators nationwide. “Hugh loved the marquee of the Joyce and we think it would be a fitting tribute to simultaneously dim the lights of the marquees of all the theaters that Hugh designed,” Shelton continued. “We will dim the lights of the Joyce marquee on Wednesday evening, March 22, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time for one full minute. We hope that Hugh’s other theaters will dim their marquee lights at the same time.” According to Caroline Shadle, programmatic assistant at the Joyce, 19 theaters agreed to participate in some way, out of about 30 U. S. theaters that were contacted. “Some of the theaters don’t have marquees, but they said they will dim their lobby lights or participate in some other way,” she said. In Baltimore, the Hippodrome didn’t have a performance on Wednesday, so the operators turned the marquee lights on for a minute, not off. The participating theaters, which show the scope of Hardy’s work, included:
  • The Joyce Theater (New York, NY)
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York, NY)
  • Lincoln Center Theater (New York, NY)
  • Theatre Row (New York, NY)
  • New Amsterdam Theatre (New York, NY)
  • National Dance Institute (New York, NY)
  • Theatre for a New Audience (New York, NY)
  • Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York, NY)
  • Radio City Music Hall (New York, NY)
  • The New Victory Theater (New York, NY)
  • Signature Theatre (New York, NY)
  • Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (Purchase, NY)
  • Royden B. Davis Performing Arts Center, Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)
  • The Glimmerglass Festival (Cooperstown, NY)
  • Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (Great Barrington, MA)
  • Hippodrome Theatre at the France
  • Merrick Performing Arts Center (Baltimore, MD)
  • Wilma Theater (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Two River Theater (Red Bank, NJ)
  • Orchestra Hall (Minneapolis, MN)
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Historic Capitol Theatre in Flint, Michigan to be restored

By this time next year, Flint, Michigan’s, Capitol Theatre will once again host live performances. Opened in 1928, the historic theater was designed by John Eberson, and was once the largest theater in Flint. Under the design guidance of DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky, renovations of the building will be completed by the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018. The Whiting, another theater in Flint, and the not-for-profit Uptown Reinvestment Corporation are spearheading the project. “The Capitol Theatre was once the community’s living room so-to-speak, where residents gathered for shared cultural experiences and live entertainment,” said Jarret M. Haynes, Executive Director of The Whiting. “The Capitol’s re-opening will deepen the impact of our vibrant arts community and become a resource to foster creativity right here in Flint. We are so proud to bring this treasure back to the city and look forward to welcoming visitors from the city and region for generations to come.” The Capitol Theatre was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1985, but it has laid vacant since 1996. Starting in 1970s the 1,600-seat theater played host to many popular acts, including Ray Charles, AC/DC, John Mellencamp, Green Day, and Black Sabbath. The experience of the theater was so designed to evoke the idea of sitting in an outdoor amphitheater. The restoration will bring back many of the theater’s original details while updating its technology. Restorations will be extensive, on the interior and exterior of the building. The original 1928 facade will be fully restored with its intricate terracotta ornament. The ceiling of the auditorium will be restored to its sky-like appearance, to include lighting special effects that mimic the transition of day and night. Decorative plasterwork and statuary throughout the building will also be brought back to its former glory. A new marquee and sign are already visible on the building, which started restorations in mid-2016. While the theater may be brought back to its original aesthetics, its new technology will be state-of-the-art. While the theater seats will be replicas of the originals, the sound, acoustics, lighting, backstage, and front-of-house will all be updated. Along with updating the performance space, 25,000 square feet of office and retail space will be reopened in the building. When completed, it is hoped that the theater will host about 100 events a year, attracting more than 60,000 guests annually. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
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Shipping container “Globe Theater” proposed for Detroit

Angus Vail, a rock music business manager from New Zealand, wants to build a Shakespearean Globe Theater in Detroit. But rather than a heavy timber and plaster structure, like the 16th century version, he wants to build it out of shipping containers. Working with New York-based Perkins Eastman, Vail has conceived of a theater in the round that could host everything from Shakespeare to punk rock, both of his passions. Near the same dimensions as the original, the Container Globe would be constructed primarily out of 20-foot shipping containers. These containers would be cut to provided box seating, while additional 40-foot containers would make up the thrust stage. Walkways and stairwells would surround the seating, also like the original layout. The entire structure would then be wrapped in a flexible steel mesh. Vail has experience in working with containers, including a performance and arts pop-up in Jersey City. His career in the music industry has also given him insight into another possibly of the Container Globe: It could be mobile. Like many large stage shows, the Container Globe would be able to be broken down, packed up, and shipped to its next engagement. Vail says the main advantage of this is that it can be brought into under-served neighborhoods, where access to the performing art may be lacking. Initial renderings show the Container Globe in front of Detroit’s vacant Michigan Central Station. While Vail has named a handful of possible locations for the project, Detroit seems to be at the top of the list. And through the plan is to make the theater mobile, it has not been ruled out that it would be a permanent structure, with multiples of it built around the world. Currently, the team working to bring the Container Globe together is planning a crowdfunding campaign for early this year. A gallery exhibition is also in the works and set to open on February 2nd at ORA Gallery in New York, a gallery dedicated to New Zealand art and design.
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Houston’s newest theater has its own two-story open-air “street”

To tell a story, three elements are crucial: setting, plot, and characters. To tell a story well, these three essentials require refinement and time to reveal them. The setting—Houston—provides the context, and the plot—how to design and build a new theater in Midtown—is compelling. The characters—a vibrant mix—complete the challenge that’s been thrown to Lake|Flato Architects and Studio RED.

Located off Main Street at the Ensemble/HCC MetroRail stop, the site was formerly a chain-linked parking lot for the city permit building. After years of planning and fundraising with a strong arts board and consultant and philanthropic pledges, the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) came to life as a nimble metal-skinned building with glass-box theaters bisected by a double-height breezeway.

The $25 million community arts complex provides a central home base in Midtown for a spectrum of leading and emerging arts and culture organizations. The 59,000-square-foot facility consists of four dedicated theater spaces, rehearsal classroom spaces, and several gallery spaces, along with back-of-house support and office space.

Ryan Jones, an associate partner at Lake|Flato, knew that the building’s breezeway, with its grandstand and functional connective artery, was key, but it took some convincing that a two-story open-air “street” for media projections would thrive given the heat and humidity that swallow most days in Houston. The solution was to install six Big Ass Fans, which keep outdoor public spaces comfortable by exhausting hot air through the chimney effect.

The building’s agile presence does not overtake its program. For this new Midtown theater and arts center, the soul of the building is internalized, and life illuminates from within the breezeway, theaters, rehearsal spaces, and control booths. The building remains in the background, allowing the exuberance of theater life and the visual arts to stand in the limelight. Its skin and structure have a subdued, protective strength amid the bustle and frenzied transactions of Travis Street traffic that includes Main Street light-rail interruptions, bus stops, church, college, and urban passersby, daily logistics, ticket sales, and cafe pauses. For Lake|Flato and Studio RED, the decision to invite the street into the building is best exemplified by their addition of graffiti art by GONZO2047 where patrons’ names are tagged on the bathroom walls to merge high art and street culture.

Houston, as described by Barrie Scardino, Bill Stern, and Bruce Webb in their book Ephemeral City, was “built around characteristic features of modern life such as rapid change, built-in obsolescence, indeterminacy, media orientation, a culture of style, and instant gratification.” It is indeed an ephemeral city, hard to pin down and understand at large, but perhaps easier to encapsulate in one permeable space.

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2016 Best of Design Award in Building Renovation: The Strand American Conservatory Theater by SOM

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Best of Design Award in Building Renovation: The Strand American Conservatory Theater

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Location: San Francisco, CA

The Strand renovation provides a highly visible experimental performance space for the American Conservatory Theater within a formerly abandoned hundred-year-old movie theater on San Francisco’s Market Street. The space houses an intimate 285-seat proscenium theater, a public lobby and cafe, educational facilities, and a 120-seat black box theater and rehearsal space.

Care was taken to sensitively retrofit the shell of the former 725-seat cinema: The facade and structural supports were restored and essential modern theater elements were layered over the raw backdrop of the original building. Playing off of the building’s cinematic roots, the centerpiece of the lobby is a suspended two-story, 504-square-foot translucent LED scrim—the first permanent indoor usage of this technology.

Development and Project Manager, Financing Consultant Equity Community Builders

General Contractor Plant Construction Company LED Panel Winvision Concrete Specialist Bay Area Concrete Historical Architects Page & Turnbull

Honorable Mention, Building Renovation: PLICO at the Flatiron

Architect: Elliott + Associates Architects Location: Oklahoma City, OK

This project includes the renovation of a two-level 1924 flatiron building and the construction of a modern, yet complementary rooftop addition that relates in shape, scale, color, and detailing while differentiating itself through materials and setbacks.

Honorable Mention, Building Renovation: Temple Israel of Hollywood

Architect: Koning Eizenberg Architecture Location: Los Angeles, CA

The light-filled design for this progressive reform congregation was inspired by a fringed Tallit (prayer shawl), while the ark is placed within a sedimentary wall that includes rocks gathered from Israel by its congregants.