When Emerson College purchased the historic Paramount Center in Boston’s downtown theater district, they had ambitious plans. What was once a 1500-seat movie house has been renovated and reconfigured into an 600-seat proscenium theatre with a full-scale fly loft. Acentech was asked by Elkus Manfredi Architects to consult on the acoustical design of the facility, providing guidance on room acoustics, sound isolation between the stacked spaces on this tight urban site, and mechanical system noise control in the historic building.

Historic finishes were restored, and certain architectural features from the original were repurposed, such as a beautifully painted rococo “fan” that once permitted organ music to waft into the movie house that now functions as an acoustical reflector above the forestage. The new theater serves students and faculty at Emerson College and also the larger Boston community; several local performing groups have expressed interest in performing in the new theater.

But Emerson’s plans did not stop at the Paramount’s main performance space. To it they added a black box theater, scene shop and other theatrical support spaces, a film screening room, nearly a dozen rehearsal studios, practice rooms, teaching spaces, faculty offices, and on top of it all, dormitory rooms for 265 students.

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