Originally built in 1912 as a live performance hall, the York Theatre building has undergone several renovations and incarnations. This project consisted of restoring the original entry to match the 1937 art deco façade, with a modern, two storey, glazed lobby extension on the corner and open to the street. The theatre was seismically upgraded and includes a refurbished auditorium, fly tower (enabling sets to be raised or lowered for productions), orchestra pit, heritage lobby and ticket booth.
A major challenge in restoring the building was to upgrade the structure from within while retaining the roof, which provides lateral bracing to the exterior terra cotta walls. Selective small penetrations were added at a handful of locations on the roof to fly in columns and beams, which were over 40’ in some cases. Existing trusses were retrofitted with steel framing in situ, and the mezzanine seating was overbuilt to provide better sight lines.
The terra cotta walls were strengthened by an interior stud wall on new steel framing. Anchors connect through the plane of the wall to an exterior steel mesh, which serves as a net and fall restraint. This exterior net was then parged and covered to retain the existing stucco façade design that typified the exterior of the building.
All of the floor space of the original building was maintained, and the project was built to LEED Gold standards.
Images: © Ed White Photography