Emerson Honored by Boston Preservation Alliance
Living, learning, and performing in Boston's Theatre District: The Paramount Center at Emerson College
October 28, 2010
Emerson proudly accepted a Significant Rehabilitation/Restoration Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance (BPA) on October 21 for the restoration of Emerson’s Paramount Center. The award ceremony, held at the Modern Theatre, celebrated outstanding achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston.
The Paramount, which has both an interior and an exterior Boston Landmark designation, was built in 1932, closed its doors to the public in 1976, and then, the BPA stated, “had fallen into a state of disrepair.”
Emerson purchased the Paramount in 2005, and hired Elkus Manfredi Architects to lead the reconstruction. Elkus Manfredi’s previous restoration work includes Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston and World of Disney in Orlando, Florida. At the Paramount, the architects adapted a 1,700-seat theater into a 590-seat live performance venue. Many of the art deco architectural details and features from the original theater were integrated into the new complex.
The Paramount Center also houses a student residence hall, a 150-seat Black Box Theatre, 170-seat Bright Family Screening Room, nine rehearsal studios, six practice rooms, a sound stage for film production classes, a scene shop, several classrooms, retail space, and more than a dozen offices for faculty and staff.
This mixed-used development has added 180,000 square feet of new and renovated construction and is a key component in the revitalization of Boston’s Midtown Theatre District, in which Emerson has played a role.
Also recognized by the BPA were: the Ames Building, Congress Street Bridge, the Folio Boston project, John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse, The New England Conservatory Campus, Old South Meeting House Tower Clock, Park Street Church, ZUMIX Engine 40 Firehouse, The Power Station, and Lisa Greenfield. In addition the Codman Award for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Dr. Judith Selwyn.
Planners and architects have done a careful job in restoring parts of the original building and incorporating them with parts of the new building. "Every nook and cranny is exciting," said Robert Orchard, Executive Director for the Arts. "It's been beautifully reimagined by the College."