For this community theater in Reading, Massachusetts, Gienapp Design designed a modest addition to provide a new accessible entrance, small lobby, concession counter and accessible toilet rooms.
Perhaps the most challenging part of this project was to create an addition to address the additional space needs while minimizing any change to the appearance of the building. Our solution, embraced by the Theater, was an understated replication and extension of the original schoolhouse entrance. This solution addressed many project needs almost inherent in the conceptual strategy; provided a moderate length walkway along the side of the building that provided a natural space for the line to purchase tickets, and subsequently leading into the theater; provided a gently sloping walkway to the building entrance and avoided a ramp if the entrance had been nearer the street and; preserved the maximum amount of parking area without crossing vehicles and pedestrians. To most patrons and observers the addition is not perceived as a change to the building exterior.
Originally a two-room schoolhouse located down the street, the wood-framed theater is situated on a small site with limited parking. Gienapp Design provided full design and planning services including; obtaining a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals for setbacks and parking; shepherding the project through Site Plan review; filing with the Conservation Commission; and architectural design and construction oversight.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and was subject to review of the local Historic Commission and Massachusetts Historical Commission. The project included repairs to the exterior, painting and design of new windows and siding to be consistent with the historical structure.
For more information on the Quannapowitt Players Theater, please visit their website.