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Monroe Community College Theater Renovation


Location: Rochester, NY

Owner: Monroe County

Services Provided:




HD Laser Scanning

AIA NYS Design Award

AIA Rochester 2017 Merit Award

Excelsior Awards for Public Architecture

The Rochester Chapter CSI Flower City Award

The project comprehensively renovated the existing Monroe Community College Theater, which transformed the space into a premier venue for campus and community events. As the Prime consultant, Popli Design Group’s (PDG’s) goals were to acoustically liven the space, improve distribution of sound pressure levels, eliminate echoes, and mitigate all background noise sources. Ideal acoustical performance required sound isolation and enhanced sound reflection and direction, making mechanical systems quieter. The design also includes provisions for variable acoustics, by way of motorized and manual sound absorbing panels to vary acoustical performance for each event type. The theater form was developed in close coordination between architectural designers and acousticians by studying several geometrical configurations and iterations.  Sound ray trace analyses were used to generate the theater form directly, with the goal of creating an ideal distribution of sound from the stage to the audience. This led to a panelized design of 259 unique wall and ceiling surfaces that form an interior shell. The design team decided that the best performance and value for money lay in using gypsum board on metal stud, despite the complexity of the design, even though this required exhaustive detailing. In addition to these sculptural, sound-directing ceiling clouds, a second “lid” ceiling was designed just below the theater roof to isolate the theater from weather and aircraft noise. The coordination of these two ceiling layers with MEP systems in a constricted plenum was made possible by integrating a 3D laser scan of the space with a highly detailed BIM model, containing structural, mechanical/electrical, and architectural systems. 

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