The latest news on New York architecture.

  • The Third Largest Theater in the City is Undergoing Restoration and Modernization

    Henry Melcher reports for The Architect's Newspaper: The Kings Theater's Second Act. Brooklyn's largest and most stunning theater gets a meticulous renovation.

    In September, 1929, the grand and extravagant Kings Theater—one of Loew’s “Wonder Theaters”—opened its doors in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

    Designed by Rapp & Rapp, the palatial space hosted vaudeville shows, and later films, inside a grand auditorium that could seat more than 3,000 people. With its ornate plasterwork, soaring ceilings, and two-thousand-pound chandeliers, the Kings Theatre was intended to have all the detail and elegance of Versailles. And it did, until the 1970s when the curtain fell at Kings.

    The once bustling venue stayed dark for the next 37 years. But now, after a two-year, $93 million renovation, the Kings Theater is slated to start its second act this January. Washington, D.C.–based architecture firm Martinez+Johnson is leading the transformation with meticulous precision and attention to every detail in the 93,000-square-foot space.

    The Theater before Restoration.

    The Theater before Restoration.

    To return the theater to its original glory, the team looked through old newspaper articles, photos, and playbills to get a sense of the space at its prime. They salvaged everything that they could and painstakingly recreated everything they could not. When a section of wood in the foyer was damaged beyond repair, it was replaced with a new piece, taken from the same type of wood.

    The Theater under Restoration.

    The Theater under Restoration.

    The Theater under Restoration.

    But before any plaster could be restored, or paint retouched, the long-abandoned Kings had to be structurally secured. “Some of the damage came from vandalism,” said Gary Martinez, president of Martinez+Johnson, on a recent tour of the theater, “mother nature took care of the rest.”

    A new roof had to be installed and recreations of all that was ripped out had to be brought back in. The theater also had to be transformed into a 21st century performing arts venue. This meant altering the seating rake for better sightlines, installing state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, adding a new ventilation system, and installing new bathrooms, concessions, loading docks, and dressing rooms. And the entire space had to be made ADA compliant. When the restoration is complete, Kings Theatre will be the third largest theatre in the city.  

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  • Modernist House Brought Back to Life

    Spencer Peterson reports for Curbed: This Modernist Cape Cod Cottage Was Saved Via Kickstarter.

           

    The Kickstarter-funded restoration of Cape Cod's Weidlinger House has successfully pulled the modernist gem back from the brink. Last pictured in a pretty sorry state, with all of its glass windows and doors missing, its interior weathered by the elements, and a large chunk of its southwest corner taken out by a felled tree, the vacation home of renowned structural engineer Paul Weidlinger has been restored to its sleek and rational 1953 look, marking yet another triumph for the Cape Cod Modern House Trust.

           

    When designing the house, Paul Weidlinger, the founder of prominent structural engineering and applied science firm Weidlinger Associates, Inc., borrowed many ideas from the homes that lauded architect Marcel Breuer designed in Wellfleet, Massachusetts: the cladding of striated Weldtex plywood, the division between public and private areas.
     
    As Architectural Record notes,the rectilinear three-bedroom cottage also sports a covered veranda connected to the ground by a Corbusian ramp. Established in 2007, the CCMHT does its work by signing 10-year leases on neglected homes owned by the National Parks Service. The trust helps fund these efforts by renting out the restored homes, so hop to it, design-minded vacationers.  

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