SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions or Adaptive Reuse,
Emerson College for The Paramount Center with Elkus Manfredi Architects
|Photo by Peter Vanderwarker|
The Paramount Center is an 180,000-sq. ft. mixed-use residential, academic, and performance facility, the final component of Emerson College’s new campus in Boston’s historic theatre district. To create it, the landmarked Art Deco theatre was repurposed into a full-proscenium professional theatre. Originally a lavish movie palace, the theater opened in 1932, was abandoned in 1976, and fell into nearly unsalvageable disrepair. New infill of 146,000 sq. ft. was constructed on two adjacent parcels behind the landmarked façade of the arcade building.
A dynamic collection of living, learning, and performing spaces within one state-of-the-art building, the center unites Boston's theatrical heritage with cutting-edge performance technology, revitalizes the Boston theatre scene, and reclaims a seamy downtown neighborhood.
The jury said “ . . . great integration of new town/gown with full respect for each . . . good marriage of public and campus . . . this kind of commitment shows that it is still important to gather as a group of people and a community and celebrate events together . . . gave the neighborhood a shot in the arm with activity . . .”
The project presented a mixed use/urban infill challenge. The assembled uses were programmatically, acoustically, and structurally opposed, and all three public venues needed to function concurrently with shared lobbies. Because courses are highly specialized, careful design consideration was given to maximizing collaboration across disciplines.
Adaptive re-use of two landmarked structures required great historical sensitivity.
This partnership between Emerson College and Boston has rescued the landmarked theatre, showcasing world-class international performances, and has allowed this historic community to be reborn through vibrant 24/7 student life and culturally enriching theatre, film, and music.
“The Paramount Center is truly a center for creative collaboration among students, faculty, performers and the public. As the college originally had hoped, this facility is fully realizing its important role at the heart of Emerson's mission,” says Margaret A. Ings, associate vice president.
Project Team: Emerson College with Elkus Manfredi Architects; also Silverman Associates; BOND; Ammann & Whitney; Vanderweil Engineers; Auerbach – Pollock – Friedlander; Acentech; Cline, Bettridge, Bernstein; Haley & Aldrich; Nitsch Engineering; Lerch Bates & Associates; Sussman/Prejza; EverGreene Painting Studios; Jack Fogg; Norton S. Remmer; Hughes Associates, Inc.