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RPI Playhouse, 1990.

Proposed Performing Arts Centers
Proposals for a centralized PAC came and went during the 1960s and 1970s. Designs for an experimental theater were drafted but not approved in 1969. In 1974 a PAC Committee proposed transforming a former chapel, which then housed the library, into the Chapel Performing Arts Center. The committee hoped to take advantage of the soon-to-be-empty space while a new library was under construction. This idea also failed, but in 1979 the Trustees appointed a Performing Arts Task Force to investigate the situation.

The architectural firm of Bohlin Powell Brown conducted a feasibility study, concluding that “a single, multi-purpose, free-standing facility would not be a viable solution because of the unrealistic expense of trying to accommodate… both music and drama.” Instead, the firm recommended upgrades to existing facilities such as West Hall auditorium and/or the large lecture hall in Sage Lab for musical performances. The firm also recommended replacing the Playhouse with a new building specifically designed for theatrical productions. While new construction was not approved, a major renovation was completed in 1983, turning the former 15th Street Lounge into the 200 seat theater it is today.

RPI Playhouse

Proposed PAC, 1969.

Sage Laboratory
elevation, 1977.

Sage Laboratory
plan, 1977.

Proposed playhouse, 1979.

PAC postcard, 1981.