Academic Architecture

Richardson Auditorium Southwestern College

About the Project

Richardson Auditorium was built in 1898 and was originally renovated in the early 1950s after a fire completely destroyed the interior. In 2011, Southwestern College retained WDM to bring its aging, iconic auditorium up to modern codes with ADA-compliant measures and updates to aging equipment. Fund-raising efforts utilizing images created by WDM’s in-house architectural animator were successful and allowed this project to move into design and construction.

Overly live acoustics were resolved with the new overhead plane of suspended reflectors and side-wall reflectors designed to reduce the reverberation time and provide a more even distribution of direct and reflected sound. Audio/video recording rooms and a sound system were integrated into the plan. The lobby and restrooms were also remodeled to function for daytime administration building use and evening performance use.

Two new concealed overhead stage lighting arrays can be accessed from the mezzanine via a new suspended catwalk. An exterior stage shop addition provides a new loading dock and 700 square feet of new shop space.


This renovation also included:

  • Additional restrooms
  • New entry vestibule
  • New ticket booth
  • Sound control booth
  • Auditorium seating and configuration

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