Rescue mission: Historic movie palace is now the centerpiece of Baltimore’s burgeoning arts hub

In restoring the theater, the design team employed what it calls a “rescued ruin” preservation approach.

December 01, 2017 |

Photos: Karl Connolly Photography

Situated at the heart of Baltimore’s budding Arts & Entertainment District, the 1915 Italian Renaissance–style Parkway Theatre for years was representative of the city’s economic and social troubles.

Abandoned and neglected for decades (a grocery store once resided in the lobby), the theater was the first of its kind to show “synchronized sound” films, where sound and picture are recorded simultaneously.

In restoring the theater, the design team employed what it calls a “rescued ruin” preservation approach. Rather than identify a single period of significance, the team chose to recognize all eras of the past. In some instances, layers were removed to reveal hidden periods of history, while other instances incorporated fresh design elements—or a mix of old and new.

 

 

The marquee and original display cases were recreated from historic photographs from the original 1915 era. The cornice lights were restored and refashioned with modern LEDs.

The team downsized the main theater to optimize sight lines for larger screens and seats, and built a new projection booth to accommodate old and new technologies: 35mm film, projection, and HD.

 

 

Project Summary

 

Honorable Mention

Building Team: Ziger/Snead Architects (submitting firm, architect) Maryland Film Festival (owner) Structura (SE) James Posey Associates (MEP) Southway Builders (GC).

Details: 22,885 sf. Total cost: $9.9 million. Construction time: December 2015 to April 2017. Delivery method: CM at risk.

 

 

SEE ALL OF THE 2017 RECONSTRUCTION AWARD WINNERS HERE

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