Neighborhood anchor + arts lead revitalization + return to past glory

"We invested in the Strand Theatre because we recognized that it is a irreplaceable part of the city and its culture."

The late Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston, Dorchester Reporter, June 14, 2012
  • COST


  • SIZE

    56,000 SF


    Master Planning, Facade Restoration and Interior Renovation

The Strand Theater was heralded in the newspapers upon its opening in 1918 as “the best and most beautiful,” “the largest suburban theater in the world,” with “richly decorated boxes,” and “large and artistic in the details of its construction both within and without.” However, time often fades beauty and the Strand had fallen on tough times. Wilson Butler Architects was brought in to inject new life into this faded but graceful city-owned theater. The renovation is seen as a key component in rejuvenating the urban life of Dorchester, an older Boston neighborhood in need of economic development.

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Wilson Butler Architects master-planned a multi-phase renovation of the Strand Theatre for the City of Boston and led the design team through the first three phases. The work includes the renovation of the historic façade and marquee, a task involving meetings and reviews by the Boston Landmarks Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Art, Tourism and Special Events.

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The initial phase of renovations included: seating repairs, interior upgrades, and life safety improvements to meet city codes. A second phase, completed a few years ago, featured a new box office, stage upgrades, new dressing rooms and the replacement of obsolete heating and air conditioning equipment. Still in the works: a new stage floor, new educational programming spaces and the full historic restoration of the lobby, orchestra pit platforms and auditorium.

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The historic façade and marquee were restored to original opening night grandeur. The historic detail, including careful craftsmanship to restore the original terra cotta design and the dramatic masonry in the two-dimensional grand arch, are exactly true to the original theatre construction.

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