Paramount Theatre receives Architizer A+ Award

Restoration of Historic Theater Ranked with World’s Best

OPN Architects’ restoration of  Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids has been awarded a Special Mention for Architecture + Restoration in the Architizer A+ Awards.

In June 2008, a record flood devastated the historic Paramount Theatre. At the crest of the flood, the Paramount had approximately eight feet of water in the main level. The basement and sub-basement were subsumed and the building’s mechanical and electrical systems were completely destroyed.

OPN worked with a team of specialists, including theater experts from the firm Martinez and Johnson, to restore the theater in a manner that honored the building’s rich history and cultural significance. The restoration presented an unforeseen opportunity to improve the theater’s acoustics and the overall patron experience. Designers made sensitive changes to the seating, lighting, electrical and mechanical systems that will allow the Paramount to host larger, more technically sophisticated shows.

The restoration team used historic research, photographs, and 2D / 3D laser scanning to record and analyze the building’s interior and exterior. When possible, existing finishes and features were retained and repaired. Where the flood had damaged the building beyond repair, new features were hand-crafted by artisans to match the original design’s color, texture and materials. The restored building re-opened in October 2012 and has re-established the Paramount as a cultural center in the Midwest.

“We’re thrilled that the Paramount has been recognized with this award,” commented Bradd Brown, principal at OPN Architects. “The design team balanced the imperatives of restoring this historic structure to its original beauty with the demands of creating a modern performance space. The experience of enjoying a performance in the restored Paramount is just incredible.”

The Architizer A+ Awards received thousands of entries from more than 100 countries representing the best of architecture and design worldwide. The Special Mention distinction is awarded to work that exhibits remarkable achievement and ranked among the top 20% of all entries, as scored by a group of 300 expert jurors.