Ohio Theatre Lobby

  • Client

    • Playhouse Square
  • Project Type

Design Achievement - The Ohio Theatre Lobby functions as an important pre- and post-performance and event gathering space within Playhouse Square, the largest renovated Theater District in the United States and a DLR|Westlake Reed Leskosky client of more than 40 years. When the Ohio Theatre, designed by renowned theater architect Thomas Lamb, originally opened in 1921, it revealed one of the most elaborate lobbies at the time, replete with an ornate frescoed ceiling, Corinthian columns, and a series of impressive murals inspired by the leading painter of the neoclassical French style, Nicholas Poussin. DLR Group|WRL's restoration of the Lobby returns the massive space, which had been destroyed by fire in 1964 and had undergone a modest remodel in the 1980s, to its original neoclassical splendor. Through painstaking research and an examination of the original architectural drawings, photo archives, and scant remnants of surviving ornamental plaster detail, the restoration recreates original paint colors, plaster ornamentation, columns, and other decorative features, accurately replicating the original design, while accommodating current building codes, new infrastructure, and patron needs. 

Scope Summary - Restoration of the 7,500 SF Ohio Theatre Lobby required keen attention to detail and skilled craftsmen. Artisans hand-sculpted plaster reproductions of the Lobby's original ornamental features, and acrylic paint and glazes were all hand applied on the 150-foot long ceiling. Sprinklers and air returns, necessary for modern systems and code compliance, were integrated and hidden within and above the ceiling's ornamental plaster elements. Three hand-painted, 30-foot-by-10-foot murals - recreated from the Poussin-inspired originals - along with two fireplaces and a marble and mahogany wainscot the walls. Historic chandeliers - though not the originals - were restored, cleaned and rewired, and the original carpet was replicated. Throughout the entire restoration process, the theater remained fully operational. An associated project expanded the women’s restroom by 40%. DLR Group|WRL provided architecture, MEP and structural engineering, and information transport design services, working closely with EverGreene Architectural Arts, the restoration expert who provided the physical labor on the project. 

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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  • Honor Award for Interior Architecture

    American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)

    Cleveland Restoration Society and American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland
  • Preservation Merit Award

    State Historic Presesrvation Office
  • 34th Annual Reconstruction Awards, Gold Award

    Building Design & Construction

Ohio Theatre Lobby

Playhouse Square