Belmont University, Bill and Carole Troutt Theater

Nashville, Tennessee

A university-owned, historic church building, previously used as a nursing school, gained new life through conversion into Belmont University’s 357-seat drama theater. Connected by a scene shop, the second theater in the complex is a new black-box addition, which doubles as an experimental theater for small productions and as a classroom.

The two-story sanctuary ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$266.26FEATURED IN2008 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYAuditoriums/Music Rooms had been framed over, and the spectacular beauty of the barrel-vault ceiling had been hidden with laid-in acoustical tiles. For the conversion, the building’s auditorium was stripped to uncover features of the original sanctuary and balcony. Working from the original documents, the design team was able to duplicate the building’s styles of moldings, doors and window casings.

Major modifications were made to the audience chamber seating configurations to improve sightlines. This included removing the floor to install slope-rack seating. The sanctuary’s original chandelier was found and rehabilitated to its former grandness. For the stage, the proscenium arch and fly tower were created with the removal of the back wall.

The building now glows with new purpose.

“The attention to history and detail is very nicely done. Forty years from now, people will still walk in the building and say ‘Wow!’”--2008 jury