Coronado Theatre

  • Project Type

Design Achievement - Originally built in 1927, the Coronado Theatre is a particularly fine example of the “atmospheric” style of early movie theaters pioneered by architect John Eberson, and a key community asset for Rockford, Illinois. After decades of use, the grand dame Coronado was in dire need of a face lift. The Rockford Area Arts Council commissioned DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky to study the feasibility of renovating, adapting, and maintaining the Coronado and/or Midway Theatres as performance facilities for the Rockford area. The study determined that regional arts needs would be best accommodated by the renovation and adaptive re-use of the 2,440-seat Coronado Theatre, and annexation and adaption of the adjacent historic Jackson Piano Building, which is a local landmark. This annexation allowed the expansion of the stage house, stage, and basement level theater support necessary to accommodate large performing arts groups without compromise to the integrity of the historic structure. The revitalized Coronado Theatre has played a key role as a catalyst for other urban development. The rebirth of the Coronado Theatre as a symphony house, Broadway road house, and community center has attracted hundreds of thousands of people to Rockford's downtown, generating ancillary benefits with a profound impact on the city’s economic growth.
Scope Summary - In renovating this historic landmark, the design team drew upon extensive research to base the restoration on the original design intent. The expanded and renovated Coronado Theatre retains all historic public areas and exterior plaster finishes. The exterior brick and cast stone were restored, a new marquee constructed, and the ornamental cast stone and polished granite “tiara” and parapets defining the entry faithfully were recreated. The renovation project expanded lobby spaces for public amenities, improved accessibility, and made room for new functions such as concessions and box office. Within the audience chamber new theatrical lighting, an enlarged orchestra pit, new seating, and new specialized audio and acoustic enhancement systems improved performance capability. An Art Deco theater manager’s apartment, including furnishings, was restored for use for meetings, conferences, and small gatherings. DRL Group|WRLprovided architecture, MEP and structural engineering, energy conservation; historic preservation; and interior design services.
DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.

Awards & Recognition

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  • 150 Great Places, The Coronado Theater

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois
  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois
  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Ohio
  • Honor Award

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland
  • Interior Design Award of Merit

    International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Cleveland/Akron
  • Architecture Honor Award

  • Heart of Rockford Historic Preservation Award

    River District Award
  • National Preservation Honor Award

    National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Merit Award in Economic Development

    International Downtown Association
  • Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award

    Landmark Preservation Council of Illinois
  • 18th Annual Reconstruction Award

    Building Design & Construction
  • Preservation Recognition

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland Historic Resources Committee
  • Technology Award

    American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)