Red Mountain Theatre Arts & Education Campus
Birmingham, Alabama

53,000 square feet house Red Mountain Theatre’s Arts & Education Campus, which includes a 450-seat theatre, supporting public and back-of-house areas, education facilities, and administrative offices.

The main theatre has reconfigurable seating (to accommodate both traditional and cabaret), and an orchestra pit that allows for different stage elevations or a 15-piece orchestra.  This roof was removed to allow for construction of a new fly tower, the only new-build of the project. In addition to the primary performance venue, the theatre company artfully utilizes unsuspecting spaces throughout the facility to perform and entertain, telling their own stories in the most amazing ways.

In addition to the primary performance venue, the theatre company artfully utilizes unsuspecting spaces throughout the facility to perform and entertain, telling their own stories in the most amazing ways.

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“I call the whole project a God kiss, because we didn’t take down a single exterior wall. It’s an amazing nod to our industrial heritage while having this really cool feel and vibe about it.”

Keith Cromwell

Red Mountain Theatre

Design Process

Five adjoining warehouse buildings were selected for this adaptive reuse project. The wide bay structures, generous ceiling heights, and raw industrial features contributed to their selection as the new home for Red Mountain Theatre Company. 53,000 square feet house a 450-seat theatre, supporting public and back-of-house areas, education facilities, and administrative offices.

Inspired by the art of storytelling and the adage “if walls could talk…” the design team appropriated this concept for design decisions that play on this theme and capture the historic context offered by the early 1900’s buildings: exposing remnant materiality, and repurposing elements such as the sliding steel fire doors, steel rails from a track on the site, structural wood columns and hand pressed brick. The industrial nature of the area is captured in details of steel including diffusers at the grand lobby color-changing LED lights, donor and patron bar display/liquor storage, screens and railing within the theatre, and a reclaimed metal canopy roof structure at the loading dock.

Schematic design presented many challenges with five floor-elevation changes, numerous roof leaks and no obvious front entry.  All public and private spaces were kept accessible, and security was a major focus, allowing for kids’ safety as they access and experience the education facilities.