The product of a ground-breaking public/private partnership, Atelier|505 is a mixed-use development in Boston’s South End that includes 103 luxury condominiums, 20,776 square feet (1,930 m2) of ground-floor retail, and a performing arts facility. The 300,118-square-foot (27,882-m2) project complements the adjacent Cyclorama theater, forming a truly integrated “arts block” for the city of Boston. Using a financial model that has been studied by developers, urban planners, and city officials, the Druker Company partnered with the city of Boston, the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA), and the Huntington Theatre Company to create a vibrant hub of activity in a rising neighborhood.
Completed in April 2006, the 400,000-square-foot (37,161-m2) Overture Center for the Arts project includes Overture Hall, a new world-class performance-arts facility; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, an expanded art museum; and a variety of renovated performance and visual arts spaces. Set on an urban infill site just one block from the Wisconsin state capitol building, the center was made possible by a gift of $210 million—one of the largest gifts for an arts center in the United States—from W. Jerome Frautschi, a retired local businessman.
Transforming the historic Portland Armory into a performing arts center required a thoughtful approach as well as creative financing and design. Built in 1891, the armory stood for many years as one of its neighborhood’s defining elements, but by the turn of the 21st century it was in dire need of repair. Armed with a sales pitch for his partners and a plan for Portland Center Stage (PCS)—the city’s premier theater company—to raise funds to buy the armory, local developer Robert Gerding set out to convert the former fortress into a permanent home for PCS by reconstructing its distinctive facade and installing a state-of-the-art theater within. The redeveloped Gerding Theater achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at the Platinum level, becoming the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the first performing arts center, to do so.
Although it is the second-largest 19th-century building in Portland, the armory has a footprint of only 20,000 square feet (1,858 m2). And the theater required 55,000 square feet (5,110 m2). The solution was to excavate 30 feet (9 m) below street level—requiring extensive shoring—to create enough volume to fit a 200-seat “black box” theater (placed underground), a 599-seat main theater, rehearsal spaces, and administrative offices.