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Arquitectonica reveals $20 million plan for Coconut Grove Playhouse

Coconut Grove-based Arquitectonica has revealed design development drawings and renderings of the landmark Coconut Grove Playhouse on Oct. 16.

For the first time, the design renders in detail the actual look, layout and scale of the redeveloped structure. The historic playhouse has been closed for a decade and its reopening has sparked a debate among preservationists, Grove residents, and members of the local theater group, The Miami Herald reports.

The $20 million plan that was developed for the Miami-Dade County, involves the demolition of the theater’s 1,100-seat auditorium. The structure had been originally designed to be used as a movie theater but it has served different purposes over the years.

The concept is supported by Fisher Dachs Associates and Coral Gables architect Jorge Hernandez, the county’s theatrical and historic preservation consultants respectively. According to them, the old structure is too big making too expensive to maintain and unsuitable for modern theatrical productions. However, their opinion has been opposed by some Coconut Grove residents. Their appeal will be brought to the attention of the Miami commission on Oct. 26.

Moreover, the county plan shows the full restoration of the building’s iconic wing-shaped facade designed by renowned architect Richard Kiehnel. Arquitectonica’s design replaces lost architectural features including shopfronts that would house restaurants and possibly offices. These shops would then be separated from the theater structure.

The new theater building has a smaller 300-seat auditorium with features suitable for modern production. Its entrance, a glass-sheathed front door connects the separate building to the playhouse’s main entrance and to a public plaza. The plaza follows the crescent shape of the original lobby.

The plan also envisions the development of a five-level garage to replace the existing surface parking lot by the Miami Parking Authority. However, the garage construction is still not final.

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