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Mark Taper Forum Reopens After $30 Million Renovation

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2008, at 11:14AM
Mark Taper Forum Reopening Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Media and donors assemble in the Mark Taper Forum for its reopening after a year-long, $30 million renovation.

On Tuesday morning, Music Center and Center Theatre Group officials proudly unveiled the new Mark Taper Forum, showing off the results of a year-long, $30 million renovation project.

While those who had visited the space before will quickly notice the expanded lobby, new lounge and greatly expanded restroom facilities, the real highlight of the work is the way in which an old structure was brought up to today's modern theatre standards.

Designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, the overriding theme of the renovation is that of reclaiming space. The exterior of the 1967 circular structure was left untouched, meaning that expanded facilities needed to come from savings found within.

Most notably, parking spaces directly below the theatre were removed to make way for a lounge and new restrooms, accessible via a grand stairway that was cut through the structure's concrete core. Two elevators were added, an engineering feat in such an oddly shaped building.

Moving the restrooms allowed the theatre's lobby to be greatly opened up, highlighting the original abalone wall. "I've had a lot of people say, 'When did you put that in?'" project manager Tom Folsom told a small group he led through the facility on Tuesday. "And obviously, it's been there since the very beginning, but you couldn't see it and it wasn't lit."

Moving air conditioning equipment that had been on the second and third floors to the theatre's roof allowed 3,000 square feet to be added in dressing room space. There are now fourteen dressing rooms, and they're larger and feature better amenities than they had previously.

The floor of the theatre was lowered roughly forty inches, bringing the venue to the level of the plaza and greatly simplifying the path equipment and scenery must take to be loaded in and out of the theatre. In all, the renovated building is 300,000 - 400,000 pounds lighter than the original structure.

Theatre goers will be able to check out the changes for themselves when previews for "The House of Blue Leaves" kick off on August 30th.

SEE ALSO: Variety: Center Theater reveals Taper Forum and LA Times: The renovated Mark Taper Forum

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