The Portland Playhouse is a nonprofit that produces culturally-diverse, socially-relevant productions intended to engage the local community both on stage and through school classrooms. Housed in a repurposed historic church, the organization’s spatial configuration created programmatic challenges for the users and the space. SERA partnered with the Playhouse to help to identify the programmatic requirements, functional needs, aesthetic preferences, and growth strategies for the organization.
The scope of this pro-bono project includes a significant renovation within the existing building, the addition of a 1,465-sf building on site, and providing design intent for the outdoor spaces. The overall goal of the project was to create a “neighborhood gem” that benefits the King neighborhood and larger theater community.
In the Playhouse’s basement, SERA’s design invites daylight and openness to the behind-the-curtain spaces, which includes new offices, dressing rooms, a green room, kitchen and communal area. On the first floor, the public-facing lobby has been refreshed and existing facilities were converted to gender-neutral bathrooms. Next to the historic church, a new, modern outbuilding provides dedicated rehearsal and community space, along with a production shop for set construction. Here, the design team focused on energy savings and occupant comfort, incorporating low tech and passive solutions that bring in natural light and minimize utilities.
Working with landscape architects at Shapiro Didway, SERA also provided a design concept for the site’s 5,352-sf outdoor area. This new space includes native landscaping and a new ADA-accessible deck.