The Screening Room Façade – Historic Reconstruction: Arizona

The Screening Room Façade – Historic Reconstruction: Arizona

Location: 127 E. Congress st. Tucson, AZ

Year Completed: 2009


Structural Engineer: Ron Schneider

Concrete Ticket Counter: Robert Herr

Marquee: Addisigns, Inc.


General Contractor: Michael Keith


Tucson’s local independent film cinema, The Screening Room, asked for assistance in securing a competitive municipal repair grant. With our help they were able to win a matching grant from the City to restore the face of their historic Congress Street building.

Through archival research and forensic demolition, we retraced the history of their early Tucson structure to faithfully repair its tired façade, which had been lost under a series of failed attempts to modernize its original look.

Our research in the history uncovered a helpful fact. The historic entry into the long narrow storefront wasn’t in the center position, splitting the entrance in two but was in fact biased to one side.

This was good news, given that entering in the center split the narrow space into thirds, a small concession area, a circulation path, and social gathering space. Our return to entering on the side meant that the patrons could queue for concessions without conflicting with the newly arriving guests. This simple move has helped not only to transform the street, but has increased revenue for the non-profit theater.

Outside, our design efforts were focused on creating a new, old-style movie marquee and custom ticket booth and counter. With the door relocated, the sequence of queuing, purchasing a ticket and entering follows a more logical flow.

The theater's fundraising capacity has grown and its ability to serve its patrons has improved by the simple act of returning to the building’s original ideas.