The Richard Rodgers Theatre
Cultural – Performing Arts
Richard Rodgers Theatre
The Richard Rodgers Theater, is a 1380-seat Broadway theatre with a landmarked façade, originally built in 1925. In February 2015, the Tony Award-winning musical and blockbuster Broadway hit, Hamilton, by playwright, composer, lyricist and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, opened and the Theater immediately became sold-out for years.
While box office sales were booming, the theatre itself was in need of major overhaul of its mechanical system which were being held together with bandaids: facilities staff had to open doors to get fresh air into the ventilation system; temporary ducts were run outside of the building to draw air from hot areas; the lobby unit was undersized for the doors open condition when patrons were filing in; and temporary units were used on the stage to provide cooling for the performers.
The Owner, The Hellinger/Nederlander 46th Street Corp., hired AKF to analyze the building’s systems and provide recommendations to bring the mechanical systems up to state-of-the-art standards and improve the comfort of audience members and performers; and of course, all while the show had to go on six days a week.
The design team’s recommendations were to replace the building’s antiquated chiller and main built-up air handling unit that served the main House. Mr. Rice led the design team’s effort and in collaboration with a contractor, planned a phased project. The chiller project went first, followed by the replacement of the House air handling unit. A new large rooftop unit was installed on the roof of the Theater that back fed the duct risers from the top and allowed the existing unit to stay online until the final switchover; the unit also provided cooling for the stage. The unit was equipped with an energy recovery wheel to reclaim the heat of the exhaust air in tempering the large amounts of outdoor ventilation air. The unit was provided with packaged DX cooling to relieve a large load from the chiller plant giving the rest of the Theater much-needed added capacity. A separate unit was provided to serve the lobby.
The design was coordinated with an acoustical consultant to reduce noise and vibration and to improve acoustic control throughout the space. A structural engineer was brought in to provide necessary structural support for the new chiller and rooftop unit above the stage area. (Prior Experience)