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ARIA Students Propose Restoration of Elba Theatre

This spring, students in fourth-year Interior Architecture were invited by the non-profit Restoration 154 ( to imagine possibilities to restore the historic Elba Theatre. The theater is imagined to be reborn as place for the community and tourists. From their website: “Restoration 154 is breathing new life into Elba, AL with 154 projects aimed at fostering community, attracting tourism, and spurring growth.” So, the Elba Theatre is just one piece of a larger restoration effort.

Before designing, students measured the existing building and participated in a community workshop organized by Lord Aeck Sargent. During the workshop, the citizens of Elba imagined the theater to host films as well as a range of other community meetings and banquets. A further ambition of the studio, led by Assistant Professor Kevin Moore, was to conceive the theater as an “illuminated interior” that fuses sound and vision into a definition of space.

The sixteen proposals can loosely be categorized as adaptable interiors with retractable seating; single multi-purpose rooms; large objects inserted into a larger volume; or projects immediately identifiable as theaters. Further details include adjustable furniture, lighting and curtains for a variety of events and reverberation time calculations as a method to fine-tune materials and patterns of interior surfaces.

Students presented their proposals in the Elba Theatre ( and prepared a booklet documenting the work. Restoration 154 recently used the drawings and models from the studio.

Click on the sides of the image carousel below to move through student work for this project. To enlarge a thumbnail, hover over the desired image and click on the enlarge icon.