SUFFOLK THEATER MULTI USE ADDITION
Riverhead, New York • 2022
The renovation was a huge success, but the stage remains inadequate for major performances due to its narrow depth. The Backstage Addition will include a 20-foot addition to the stage with a modern Grid, lighting and sound, 5,000 sf of support space at stage level and 5 floors above. Above the stage level is one floor of Commercial Space for uses synergistic to the arts and 4 floors, with 28 Studio and One Bedroom apartments, many with private balconies and 40 personal storage units. The project will also include a 30k/W solar array on the roof. Views from the upper floors will extend to the Riverfront and Peconic bay to the east, and west across the western portion of Riverhead Town.
The design takes advantage of the grade rising toward the back of the theater by creating a Plaza a half-level above grade, in order to access the commercial floor and the main entrance to the apartments. In addition, the plaza level provides the stage for plantings, ADA access, lighting, signage, stairs, and space for infrastructure in the form of RPZ vault adjacent to the mechanical spaces of the lower stage level. The softly lit, translucent obelisks create focal points and define a terminus for the axis from Main Street to the addition from the narrow east alley.
The vertical curving and horizontal rails are multi-functional. The rails serve as guard rails, for the sliding doors that act as windows for all apartments, privacy screens, sun control, detail and a unique esthetic. Designed specifically for those reasons, the railings also mimic the water streams of the original Deco Suffolk theater logo displayed at either side of the apartment entry.
Rather than prescribe to or mimic the historical design elements of Main Street including the beautiful Deco theater façade, we chose to create a playful assembly of art, artist, and musical images in numerous panels that reflect on the nature and use of the theater building. The façade design is “of its time” and is not defined by the fake keystones and stylized traditional details of other proposed projects in the new downtown. The images will be created using perforated metal panels. The image panels can be changed periodically, giving the building a dynamic and unique ability to change with the times.
Suffolk Theater Multi Use Addition
The Suffolk Theater, originally constructed as a Deco Style movie house in 1933 was closed for good in 1988. It was purchased by the town in the mid 90’s and sold in 2006 to a private party, my client. With the new owner, this design firm renovated and converted the building into a Cabaret Style Performing Arts Theater, which includes a full-service restaurant, 2 large bars, table and chair seating on a terraced, radiant heated, auditorium floor. The Theater opened again in 2013 and was the trigger that sparked the redevelopment of downtown Riverhead.