One of our favorite design elements of the new Writers Theatre resonates for both sentimental and sustainable reasons.
The exterior of the current Woman’s Library Club building is brick, and we are salvaging the brick by hand to re-use as a brick screen wall surrounding the audience in the 250-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre.
Preserving the existing brick is a careful and painstaking process that took the mason almost three weeks to complete.
As the brick is removed, it is cleaned of mortar, stacked on pallets, and will be taken to the mason’s yard, where it will be given a deep cleaning and ultimately be stained a darker hue prior to re-installation in the new theatre.
Early in the brick reclamation, the mason constructed a mockup of the brick screen wall, which was reviewed by Studio Gang Architects to get a good sense of the final design early in the process.
Shortly after, a second mockup was erected that mixes the reclaimed bricks with new bricks that are a close match to the original size and color, so that if we are not able to save enough brick to build the entire screen, we have an elegant plan in place to still be able to execute the design.
When complete, the detail of the brick screen pattern (which has three distinct horizontal bands) will look similar to this (left).
And when seen in the context of the full 250-seat Nichols Theatre, the brick screen will resemble this rendering:
The brick screen is one of a number of unique design features of the new Writers Theatre, and we will explore other topics in more detail in future blog posts.