Built in 1947, the Culver Movie Palace was for years an icon of the vitality and diversity of the Heart of Screenland: Culver City, CA. By the 1980’s the structure was no longer used and sat derelict in the City’s downtown district.
Through a close collaboration of Center Theatre Group, Ehrlich Architects and the Culver City Redevelopment Agency, the existing building has been transformed into an intimate, flexible venue for both traditional and experimental theatre.
The re-design design of the theatre essentially inserted a new 300-seat venue within the existing historic shell. In an effort to separate old and new, to rethink the theatre experience and to create a center of activity within downtown, openings have been introduced within the existing concrete shell and active program and public circulation have been located along the building’s perimeter.
Galleries that cantilever above the main seating area create intimacy and heighten the audience’s sense of performance participation. The entrance experience begins with an introduction of the theatre through the restored Culver Theatre neon marquee and sign tower.
Its simplicity and honesty and style makes it a totally welcoming space from the moment the audience enters the lobby to that magic moment when artists on stage meet.”
Gordon Davidson, Founding Director Center Theatre Group
Other exterior improvements include the rehabilitation of the original terrazzo floor theatre entry in a flower motif, refurbished ticket booths and poster cases that now display the latest performances. Inside, a spacious lobby with crisp but informal cloth-covered seating provides a gathering area for patrons and is easily accessible to a custom-designed bar and food concession.
Kirk Douglas Theatre
Culver City, CA
Center Theatre Group / Redevelopment Agency of Culver City
Roschen Van Cleve Architects MATT Construction
2005Southern California Development Forum (SCDF) Design Awards