BLUEBARN Theatre is a small, artisanal, hand-made theatre company in downtown Omaha, NE. After reading “The Neutrality Trap,” the article by Josh Dachs about studio theaters in the January 2012 issue of American Theater Magazine, AD Susan Clement-Toberer decided to get in touch with FDA — and has been working together with us since then.

With the resurgence of real estate prices in downtown Omaha and the deterioration of the space BLUEBARN has rented and improved, they decided to try to build a home of their own that they could own. The total project budget was limited to $6 million and the building to just under 15,000 GSF.

At the same time, it was critical to maintain the special character of the BLUEBARN, and not sterilize out all the things that made it special to visit and work in. The upstage wall opens onto a rear “porchyard” that will serve as an outdoor event space, shop area, and an opportunity for alternate staging both inside and out. Their lobby features ceramics made by the AD’s husband, handmade serving counters, and an amazing collection of beautiful artist-made show posters. These two ideas — a unique hand-crafted experience for a very low budget — are what have led our thinking during the design process.

  • Client: BLUEBARN Theatre
  • Architect: Min|Day
  • Completion Year: 2015
  • Location: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Building Size: 15,000 s.f.
  • Capacity: 99 seats

  • 2017 ACEC Nebraska Engineering Excellence Award, Merit (MEP)
  • 2016 IES, International Merit Award
  • 2016 IES, International Illuminance Award
  • 2016 ACSA Faculty Design Award
  • 2016 AIA San Francisco Special Commendation for Urban Design
  • 2016 AIA Nebraska Honor Award for Architecture
  • 2016 AIA Central States Merit Award for Rebar Wall (detail)

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