This February, Saint John Theater Company (SJTC) was awarded a 2021 Saint John Heritage Award for its stewardship and reinvention of the iconic Old Saint John Country Court House building. EXP’s architecture and engineering team played an integral role in planning the renovation and rehabilitation of this historic structure. EXP’s multi-disciplinary team included Architect Melissa Wakefield; Discipline Lead – Architecture, Morgan Lanigan; Mechanical Engineer Chris Gardiner; Structural Engineer Matt Fennell; Electrical Engineer Brandon Drake and Civil Engineer Brady Gaudette.
SJTC acquired the Old Court House in 2019. The 200-year-old structure was designated as the National Historic Site of Canada in 1974 and is in the heart of uptown Saint John. Several iconic historical sites surround the entire block, and therefore, it was vital for the project designers to keep its heritage intact.
“The team has been working in close collaboration with SJTC to accomplish their vision of creating the perfect amalgamation of the structure’s historic character and the latest, energy-efficient theatre technology that will ensure the continued growth of SJTC,” said Architect, Melissa Wakefield.
As per the plan, a significant three-story infill will be added to the existing Court House building. The proposed addition is at the rear side of the building, while the front will maintain the historical mystique and character of the older building.
While planning the renovation for the Saint John Theater Company, the design team focused on designing an extension that was befitting for the historic establishment.
The critical programmatic design features include:
- Building a new and larger state-of-the-art, modern entrance lobby area.
- Incorporating new elevators and staircases.
- Establishing barrier-free accessibility across the facility.
- Transforming the old courtroom into a state-of-the-art performance space.
- Building a floating mezzanine to increase the seating capacity of the performance space to 220.
- Creating space for necessary life-safety upgrades.
- Careful selection of materials that would enhance the energy efficiency of the building without sacrificing style.
The newly renovated SJTC complex will be a contemporary and energy-efficient structure that has never been seen before in Saint John. The project is expected to complete in Spring 2025.
Get in touch with our team in New Brunswick: Senior Vice President, Regional Manager – Eastern Canada – Richard Smith.