Photos by Whitney Cox
Brooklyn, New York
This historic theatre has faced years of neglect and vandalism. M+J recently completed a full restoration of the front-of-house spaces while providing a new, state-of-the-art stagehouse.
This facility is one of the most beautiful theatres in the United States and was originally designed by the architectural masters, Rapp and Rapp. It is located in a once thriving shopping district of Brooklyn along Flatbush Avenue and is potentially one of the major components in this district’s pending renaissance. The essential scope of work for this landmark theatre included renovation and rehabilitation work, with the end goal of creating a modern multi-purpose performance venue for music concerts, theatre, dance, comedy, and special events. The focus of the redevelopment project was to restore the significant, historic front-of-house areas to their original grandeur while integrating the equipment, technology, and support spaces necessary to transform a classic movie palace into a venue suitable for hosting today’s live productions. The goal of balancing these preservation concerns with the creation of a modern performance facility was one of the most challenging aspects of the project. The design team met the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Historic Structures for all restored areas, both interior and exterior.
New seating layouts based on comfort and sightlines were provided with a final seating capacity in the range of 3,200 seats. The orchestra level was re-raked and the balcony level seating tiers over-built. The acoustical performance capabilities, and architectural and theatrical lighting were improved. The patron support facilities were be expanded to include new restrooms and new concessions areas spread throughout. The pre-existing stagehouse facility was under-sized for the anticipated program. The stage had limited wing space, the loading dock area was inadequate for production load-in, and the dressing room and support facilities were insufficient. A new steel structure, providing the necessary increased width and support spaces, was erected and optimal loading scenarios were addressed.