The Newton Auditorium project was a significant renovation of the historic 1908 auditorium in Denver, Colorado. The project transformed the auditorium into the world-class, 221,000 SF, 2,225 seat Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

The design of the auditorium was focused on audience experience, with the farthest seat in the hall only 113 feet from the stage, 24 feet closer to the stage than in the old theatre. The slope of the balconies, the ziggurat walls on each side, the curves on the front of the side balconies, and the vertical volume of the space were all designed to enhance the natural sound of the hall. Moveable walls within the orchestra pit adjust to the size of the orchestra and serve as sound reflectors, a design advance unique to this facility.

The project faced a daunting challenge of preserving the historic exterior while completely renovating the interior. All the wiring had to be torn out, the transformer was taken offline, and everything was brought down to bare dirt. The project team spent five months on abatement and demolition. As excavation proceeded, bracing was added to make sure the exterior walls did not collapse.

The historic renovations involved:

  • Preserving the four existing perimeter walls · Select replacement of exterior doors, windows, brick, and exterior stone facade
  • Exposing and preserving seven sets of 1900’s paired steel columns
  • Exposing the sandstone basement foundations, while completely demolishing the inside of the building.

PCL Construction successfully completed the project, demonstrating their ability to deliver excellence in complex renovation projects, and creating the crown jewel and flagship theater in the Denver Performing Arts Complex

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