In 2007 CJS Architects was commissioned by the University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music to develop plans for the right-sizing of the Eastman Theatre. The project includes both renovations to this McKim, Mead, & White landmark, originally built in 1922.
The renovation portion of the project included a reconfiguration of the orchestra and mezzanine levels of the theatre to narrow the hall by adding box seats. This reduced the capacity from 3,000 to 2,250 seats while maintaining the historic character of the landmark building. The reduction resulted in overall volume of the hall and created acoustical accuracy and a more enjoyable public space. The removal of seats in the rear of the theatre, below the mezzanine, allowed for expansion of the existing lobby and the addition of support spaces not previously available at the orchestra level.
The addition included a large rehearsal hall, a smaller 200-seat recital hall, recording studio, gift shop, storage and mechanical spaces. A new lobby provided vertical circulation and convenient access to the orchestra, mezzanine and balcony levels of the theatre for patrons arriving from an adjacent parking garage. An exciting glass chandelier by world renowned artist Dale Chihuly is suspended in the lobby and exemplifies the intersection of art and architecture.