In 1928 the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa celebrated the opening of The Paramount Theater. The elegant and opulent theater was among the finest venues in America and a shining example of extraordinary craftsmanship. In June 2008, a devastating flood swept through Cedar Rapids. The Paramount Theater lay directly in its path and the theater was flooded to an elevation of approximately eight feet above the main street level. The theater was severely damaged by water and debris.

In the fall of 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids contracted OPN Architects, Inc. to plan and oversee the renovation of the Paramount Theater. Among the City’s most important goals was to insure that the theater would be restored in a manner that honored the building’s rich history and cultural significance. This large, complex project required extensive preliminary research and analysis to identify the materials and techniques used to create the original elements. A team of experts was brought in to examine and restore the building’s historic features. Among these features were:

Elaborate and highly articulated plaster forms and details on nearly every interior surface

Marezzo scagliola plaster designed to simulate elegant stone

Aluminum leaf, paints and glazes in sophisticated color combinations and patterns

Grand crystal chandeliers and delicate stained-glass light fixtures, all hand crafted and assembled by highly-skilled artisans

An iconic “one-of-a-kind” Wulitzer organ featuring a finely detailed and extravagantly decorated console which historians have referred to as a “singular work of art”

While restoring the building, the design team also made significant improvements to the theater including:

Seating improvements

Improved acoustics and lighting

Improved gathering spaces including reception and lounge areas

Expanded orchestra pit

Expanded stage house & wing space

Improved loading area & back-of-house

Exterior improvements

The restored theater opened to the public on with a ribbon cutting on October 26, 2012.

NOTE: Professional photographs of the final project will be available after February 20, 2013.