Lensic Performing Arts Center

The renovation of this 70-year-old theatre was envisioned to result in a home for eight regional arts organizations, presenting music, drama and dance, as well as to house national tours. The task facing the design team was to bring the technology and patron accommodations of the Moorish/Spanish Renaissance facility into the 21st Century while retaining every bit of its over the top architectural splendor. There was a lot to preserve: the theatre, built in 1931 as a Vaudeville house, was hailed when completed as the “wonder theatre of the Southwest”, and hosted Ronald Reagan, Judy Garland, and Roy Rogers, among other performers.

To provide flexibility for a wide range of complex production requirements, FDA incorporated a permanent concert lighting system within a new moveable orchestra shell; raised the fly tower to better accommodate theatrical rigging, added new dressing rooms, concession bars, box office, and catwalk, enlarged the orchestra pit, and provided a 60′ deep rear stage. The restoration carefully preserved historic murals and decorative chandeliers.

The Lensic Performing Arts Center was awarded a Citation in Design Excellence by the American Institute of Architects Western Mountain Region.

  • Client: Lensic Theatre
  • Architect: Craig Hoopes and Assoc.
  • Completion Year: 2001
  • Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Acoustician: Purcell, Noppe & Associates
  • Capacity: 820 seats


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