Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Immediately following a catastrophic flood, M+J was hired to restore this historic theatre. The project entailed the restoration of the historic theatre, expansion of performance capabilities, and an addition that provides front and back of house support.
M+J most recently completed effort came from working alongside Cedar Rapids-based OPN Architects in an effort to restore the historic Paramount Theatre, an excellent example of American movie palace architecture, extensively damaged by a catastrophic 2008 flood. The project entailed the restoration of the theatre, expansion of performance capabilities, and an addition that provides front and back of house support.
Restoration followed the Secretary of the Interior‘s Standards, that call for the identifying, retaining, and preserving of the form and character defining features and materials including the recovery of missing features through historic research, historic photographs, and 2D / 3D laser scanning recordation of all building interiors and exterior. In the theatre and patron areas, existing finishes and features have been retained, and deteriorated historic features were repaired. Where the severity of deterioration required replacement of materials and distinctive features, new features were designed and built to match the old in aesthetics, color, texture, and materials.
The auditorium was completely reseated and architectural acoustics addressed for the facility’s primary user, Symphony Iowa, as well as for touring musical and theatrical product. Historic surfaces were modified for reflectivity, variable acoustical devices were installed for better absorption, and a reflector and orchestra shell were installed to provide excellent acoustics. The organ, one of the truly special features of the theatre, was restored with a new lift configuration constructed in a new, variably sized pit.
The lower level was rebuilt with a new lobby, bar, and public bathrooms and the “annex” space, designed by OPN, expanded the historic public gathering spaces and now offers amenities that were designed to increase programming and operational opportunities.