Tower Theatre Adaptive Re-Use

Los Angeles, California

Gruen Associates was the Executive Architect with Foster + Partners as the Design Architect for the renovation of the historic 1927 Tower Theatre into the newest and most dramatic flagship retail store in downtown Los Angeles’ famed Broadway Theater District. The fit-out of the store occurred within the context of the historic restoration, seismic rehabilitation, and adaptive re-use of the existing building.

The building is used for events on select occasions with the upper level used during store hours for training or smaller presentations. The design of the video wall on the lower level is integrated into the design for both levels. The project includes several important elements–for one, the restoration of the exterior façade and marquee, which involved the clock tower and modifications to the building/roof signage. Additionally, the building interiors were fully restored, refurbished, and modified to suit the fit-out including a full seismic upgrade. The modifications required to meet all local, state, and federal requirements for code and life safety were design-sensitive. Lastly, the lower level seats were completely removed to make way for the 7,429-SF retail space, and there is an equally-sized basement below.

The theater had been closed for decades, but now stands to create a re-invented as well as revisited retail/performance venue for Downtown Los Angeles and spur a re-invigorated development for the surrounding area. The new, multi-awarded Tower Theatre will attract new tenants, storefronts and economic activity for the famed Broadway corridor as a vanguard of theater houses in Los Angeles’ vibrant entertainment history.

* Gruen Associates is the Executive Architect.