The Rialto, remodeling Bozeman’s historic theaterMay 11 2018 · 0 comments · NISHKIAN MONKS, Remodel/Seismic Upgrade ·0
Built in 1908, and unused since 2005, the Rialto Theater has been given new life as a cultural resource and entertainment venue in the heart of downtown Bozeman. After an extensive two-year remodel and seismic retrofit the Rialto re-opened its doors to patrons early this year. The majority of the historic building’s interior was removed to fit the new architectural program. Developers including ThinkTank Design Group collaborated with general contractor North Fork Builders and structural engineers Nishkian Monks to repurpose the interior spaces, enhancing the patron’s experience, while maintaining the building’s existing exterior design.
Timing and logistics were key challenges due to structural instability. A new space inside the two-story building’s shell was constructed. The architects focused on creating lighter spaces and installing modern utilities in the three spaces of this historic building: the Light Box, a second-floor gallery space with a large skylight and full commercial kitchen; the Burn Box, a higher-end bar overlooking Main Street, and the Black Box, the stage and venue itself which holds up to 400 people. Both the wrap-around mezzanine and the stage level features bars as well.
One of the primary challenges of the project was the seismic reinforcement and safety of the 110-year-old structure. Because the existing two-story unreinforced masonry building was inherently unsafe the structural challenges were multiplied by the unique purpose of the building as a black box theater/conference/reception/meeting hall facility with full kitchen space. The scope of work for this aggressively remodeled space included:
- 1,200-square-foot (111.5 sq.m.) addition to the south end of the building;
- Reframing of the main floor – maintaining existing drop into the basement;
- Reconfiguring of the north façade with new main level entry framing, upper level window sill removal, and the addition of an occupiable marquee;
- Repurposing of the second floor for use as an assembly area;
- Addition of a three-stop elevator;
- Addition of a mezzanine level;
- Creation of a south end egress; and
- Removal of window sills on the upper level of the south exterior masonry wall.
Given the degree of planned structural modifications to the existing building coupled with the change of occupancy for the second floor, Nishkian Monks engineering was bound to the code requirements as outlined in the International Existing Building Code (IEBC), 2012 ed; hence, implementing a seismic upgrade to the entire building using reduced seismic forces as allowed by the IEBC.
The project’s success is due to the strong coordination efforts of the design team and the developers. What used to be a long-vacant building which has seen different uses and occupants over time is now a completely restored theater, a vibrant venue and event space in Bozeman’s downtown scene. “It’s truly an honor for Nishkian Monks to help bring this piece of Bozeman history back to life, and to work alongside such a talented team on this prominent building– a new landmark on one of the most traveled streets in Bozeman,” said Ty Monks, Vice-President, Managing Principal, and one of the founders of Nishkian Monks PLLC.
If you would like to learn more about our building remodels and renovations, historic preservation, seismic rehabilitation and retrofit work, visit our Portfolio page. To learn more about the Rialto, click here.