Van H. Gilbert Architect PC

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Simms Fine Arts Center
Albuquerque Academy, New Mexico

The Simms Fine Arts Center renovation created a true multi-purpose performance venue in what was once a nondescript, 1950s school auditorium. The redesigned facility bridges the dual mission of functioning for the school music and theatre education departments and as a venue for community use. The renovation work included Pickett Auditorium, a 570-seat multi-use performance theatre and Johnson Theatre, a 165-seat black box theatre.

The theatre floor was re-sloped and seats repositioned to provide enhanced viewing angles to the newly lowered stage. The addition of a state-of-the-art lighting control system, a new lighting grid, curtain system, and a catwalk system made it possible to provide theatrical lighting. Backstage areas were renovated to increase functionality and to provide rehearsal spaces, dance classrooms, dressing rooms, and a debate classroom.

Improved acoustics now make the theatre a community treasure for musical performances. Acoustical deficiencies were addressed in a variety of ways including adding curved acoustical panels and changing the wall angles to alter acoustical properties.

  • 1999 Outstanding Renovation Project, Best of New Mexico, Southwest Contractor Magazine