The Roxy Theatre, once a central part of Edmonton’s diverse arts and entertainment scene, was destroyed in a fire on January 13th, 2015. In a matter of hours only a few walls of the landmark were left standing.
While the community mourned the loss of this beloved cultural building, it did not take long for action to begin igniting plans for rebuilding the Roxy. The people of Edmonton rallied around this cause and raised an impressive amount of public funding to bring back the iconic building. After sitting empty for years, the $12.5 million rebuild commenced, and the Roxy started to slowly come back to life.
The new Roxy Theatre is better than ever and stands as a poignant example of the power of community, and an incredible feat of engineering.
Bringing the Roxy Back
With the Roxy’s destruction in 2015, the Edmonton theatre and arts community lost a cherished performance space, and businesses in the surrounding area suffered. Left reeling from the loss, the people of Edmonton found a common cause in reviving this signature landmark and a plan to resurrect the Roxy started to take shape.
Rebuilding the Roxy Theatre was a significant undertaking requiring sophisticated engineering, and Arrow’s multidisciplinary team of mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineers welcomed the challenge.
Despite the difficult conditions presented by size constraints of the site, Arrow delivered a building design that included electrical and mechanical innovations, as well as complex energy modeling and acoustics recommendations. Arrow’s design resolved challenges caused by the small building footprint, safely allowed for the significant electrical needs of a theatre, structurally accounted for the weight of modern electrical equipment, incorporated state-of-the-art air exchange, all in a way that did not impact the sensitive acoustic requirements of a functioning live performance theatre.
The added challenge of acoustics
Theatre projects understandably have unique acoustic requirements. For a theater, success is intimately linked to the building’s acoustics as this directly impacts audience experience. Given the higher occupancy of the new theatre, with two theaters instead of one main stage, the noise criteria were extremely challenging. To accommodate the front stage noise criteria, the Arrow team considered duct sizing, duct velocity, placement of duct outlets, and air exchange equipment.
Due to the large volume of people and specific lighting requirements, a theatre without the proper cooling system can quickly become a stifling space. Needing to consider both comfort and impacts to the theatre’s sound experience, the cooling system design needed to allow for cool air delivery in a way that did not compromise sound quality.
The Roxy is back and better than ever.
The reconstructed Roxy Theatre was designed to include 3 new performance spaces to allow local artists to flourish and perform comfortably. The revitalized Theatre includes a main theatre that seats 200 people, a smaller 100-seat theatre, as well as a rehearsal hall for performers and administration and support areas to round out the facility.
Today, thanks in part to Arrow’s engineering excellence and expert project management, the Roxy has been restored. Standing as a vision of beauty and a point of pride for community residents, the small theatre is once again making a prominent impact in Edmonton’s arts and culture scene.