California Theatre - Pittsburg, California
Designed by well-known theatre architect A.W. Cornelius, the California Theatre in Pittsburg opened in 1920 as a premiere venue for live vaudeville performances and silent films. The auditorium featured a large art-deco chandelier with Beaux-Arts ceiling decoration. The carpets were thick and luxurious, and the balcony was grand.
Sometime after the California Theatre closed in 1954 a roof leak damaged the ceiling, which collapsed into the abandoned auditorium. Over the years local theatre groups and downtown businesses urged its restoration, but the task seemed overwhelming and costly.
In 1994, the City began a major clean up and stabilization of the deteriorating theater. In 2008, City planners approved designs for renovation of the theater exterior, and by 2009, the project that eventually became a $7.6 million restoration began in earnest.
Landry & Bogan was brought into the project late in the design process, providing a new seating layout to improve sightlines on the shallowl-sloped floor, and developing handicapped-accessibility for the audience and performers. In addition L&B designed new performance lighting and rigging systems, including automated hoists. The theatre reopened in January 2013 and presents a busy schedule of movies, theater, comedy and other events to the delighted residents of Pittsburg.
Dick Abono, Development Services
City of Pittsburg
65 Civic Ave.
Pittsburg, CA 94565
Architectural Resources Group
Pier 9, The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111
15,000 total building SF
330+/- seats on main level (balcony seating not yet restored)
Project cost $7.6M