Rafael Film Center
Restoration, Seismic Upgrade, Addition
Electrical: O’Mahony & Myer
Acoustics: Charles M. Salter Associates
Theater: Auerbach Pollack Friedlander
The project consists of a restoration, seismic upgrade and expansion of an historic Art Moderne theater to convert it to a state-of-the-art theater complex. The con-version entailed a complete seismic upgrade of the existing concrete and wood structure, restoration of the existing historic materials and finishes, and construction of two new theaters, a cafe, and office space. The project involved a fine balance between restoration and new insertions to fit the Owner’s program. In the main theater, the existing mezzanine was removed and rebuilt as a post tensioned concrete slab to seismically brace this portion of the building. In the rebuilding of the structure, which supported a new theater in the mezzanine space, the curve and feel of the existing mezzanine was carefully maintained to preserve the spatial quality of the historic main theater. The new architectural construction is designed in a more clearly modern minimalist palette to create a clear distinction between the generations that built the theater. Careful handling of proportion, form and color relate the two constructs.
As the restoration of this historically significant building plays a key role in the revitalization of downtown San Rafael, the project required extensive public review and interaction with the local committees, the San Rafael Design Review Board, and the San Rafael Planning Commission.