Award of Merit: Historic Category
Restoration of Tucson's Historic Fox Theatre
Submitted by QuakeWrap, Inc.
Tucson’s Fox Theatre
Grenier Structural Engineering
Tucson’s restored Fox Theatre is a shining success story. After 36 years of sitting dormant and deteriorating, the Fox now shines as one of America’s spectacular movie palaces and has sparked the revitalization of a virtually abandoned downtown.
Designed as a 1500-seat dual vaudeville/movie house, the Fox Theatre opened in 1930. The Fox became the center of Tucson’s entertainment world for over 40 years until the 1970s, when the theater closed its doors.
The theater’s significant deficiencies created a unique dilemma. Retrofitting could not disturb the historic nature of the building. Its unreinforced masonry (URM) walls and parapets and concrete beams required strengthening. The URM walls had very little shear capacity and needed waterproofing to prevent further decay. The lobby floor also needed waterproofing and strengthening to meet building codes. Through the use of 8500 ft2 (790 m2) of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) materials, over 7000 ft2 (650 m2) of the URM walls were transformed into shearwalls and strengthened in a single operation. The waterproofing of the lobby floor and its upgrade was also accomplished in one simple operation through the use of FRP.
This project showcases applications of FRP technology to retrofit damaged historic buildings in severe conditions. The thin FRP elements are easily hidden, minimizing the impact to the historic value of the building. The project received national attention when a story about the repair using FRP was aired on the History Channel’s “Back to the Blueprint” program.