Ovens Auditorium

RdM has completed serval projects, spanning decades, in Ovens Auditorium, updating a classic Charlotte building to be more functional and to feel new again.

Restrooms and Elevator Addition: As a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority needed to provide new compliant accessible entries, circulation, egress and restrooms. Having been through a number of architects, the authority challenged the firm with its needs and a $1M budget. RDM Architecture conceived a two-story, 4,000 SF addition with aesthetic details and forms that were sympathetic to the original c.1950 architecture.

Alterations & Additions, Phase II: This $1,500,000, 6,000 square foot renovation and addition to Ovens Auditorium was inspired by a need for better patron circulation, expanded gathering spaces, shorter restroom & ticket lines, as well as an increase in concessions revenue. The additions were designed to look as if they were always a part of the 1950’s Charlotte icon, matching the architectural style and historic context but delivering the elegant hospitality that newer facilities offer.

Starlight Lounge: Challenged with a small budget to replace some finishes on the second floor of the c.1950s concessions area, RdM inquired and investigated concessions revenue, customer satisfaction and operational issues. RdM then reversed the challenge presenting design concepts and budgets that convinced Authority management and board members to expand their funding and the service potential. The net affect of the new design and upgrades resulted in a four month pay back of the increased funding and increased revenue forever thereafter providing additional dollars for further capital improvements.

Restrooms and Elevator Addition

  • Connected a new elevator, fire control room, volunteer check in, family restroom and men’s and women’s restrooms, and new accessible exits on the first floor.
  • Features a multi-purpose gathering and social room on the second floor, cantilevered out over the first floor, with 12′ tall glass along the west wall and overlooking the tree covered plaza between the auditorium and historic domed arena.
  • New stairwell was included to provide required egress from the second floor.
  • Existing vertical egress serving the mezzanine were extended horizontally to satisfy and separate rated egress routes.

Alterations & Additions, Phase II

  • Expanded lobby to house a technologically advanced on-site box office.
  • New men’s restroom and guest service areas complete with a coat check, emergency control room, and inside sales services.   
  • Relocated queuing areas to promote better patron traffic flow and enhanced security.
  • The central drum that previously housed the extremely inadequate restrooms blossomed into an expansive service bar and concessions area. The manipulation of the existing spaces allowed for increased circulation and conversation spaces within the lobby.
  • This renovation included the replacement of furniture, fixtures, finishes and concessions equipment all intended to upgrade the aesthetics and efficiencies.
  • Deteriorating exterior fountain and Independence Boulevard access were removed making way for expanded accessible parking convenient to the main entrance along with new plaza, fountains and main entrance circular vehicular drop off.

Starlight Lounge

  • Design references c.1950s details, colors and materials in a mix of exciting contemporary elements
  • Doubled service stations from 2 to 4 reducing wait times and increasing revenue
  • Scope required minimal utility upgrades with creative solutions to the expanded demands
  • Additional revenue provided boost to meet other capital needs allowing follow up project that refreshed the entire look of the Starlight Lounge with new carpet, lighting and furniture
  • Upgrading the concessions service counter stations resulted in the increased funding