Project Tour : Town Hall Seattle Renovation

• Thomas Ambrey
• Project Engineer
• Rafn Company

Our project at Town Hall Seattle is a complete renovation of this 35,731 square foot performance arts building. The structure was originally built between 1916 and 1922 as the The Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, church building.

Our scope of work includes: seismic upgrade (structural steel / concrete shear walls / collector beams); mechanical upgrade; terra cotta, stained glass, and historic window restoration; plumbing upgrades including a new 17 unit restroom; new elevator; new roof; and new AV and production equipment including a catwalk, lighting, production platforms, and acoustic reflectors.

West Facade of the Building

West Facade of the Building

The west facade of the building will incorporate a new, ADA compliant, storefront entrance from the courtyard. Feeding directly into level 1, this will allow the new performance space there to have a separate entrance from the main performance space above. Town Hall Seattle is one of only a few structures in Seattle that is almost completely cladded in terra cotta.

Structural Collector Beam

Structural Collector Beam

This structural collector beam will be a concrete beam with a steel plate on the bottom and will collect lateral (seismic) forces and transfer them to the new shear walls at the building's corners. This photo shows the rebar inside the beam before it is covered with shotcrete (sprayed concrete), the slot for the steel plate below the beam on the left, and a concrete shear wall on the right.

Mechanical Ductwork

Mechanical Ductwork

This photo shows a run of new HVAC ductwork in the building. The new mechanical systems in the building are oversized (large ducts with many vents) to reduce vibration and noise. Also, to reduce mechanical system noise interfering with performances in the building, the main performance hall has its own system and the lower floors have their own system. These separate systems are also acoustically isolated from one another.

West Lounge

West Lounge

This space is on level 2 and is the future home of the West Lounge, an additional venue for smaller events that overlooks the courtyard and downtown Seattle. In the background you can see the location of the building’s new elevator which will provide ADA access to every level.

Shotcrete Columns

Shotcrete Columns

The interior walls of the building are made from hollow clay tiles and support the concrete beams above. This method of construction is not up to current code or seismic best practices, but by removing material to construct new concrete columns we are able to reinforce the wall. The entire wall cover will be refinished and visitors to the building will not be able to see that anything has changed.

Great Hall

Great Hall

Many of the architectural plaster moldings in the Great Hall were able to be covered and protected but some needed to be removed to access areas where new structural steel will be installed. Rafn craft workers carefully removed these pieces of molding, created silicon molds of each piece, and cast new moldings which will be installed at the end of the project.

The Dance Floor

The Dance Floor

The scaffolding in the Great Hall, affectionately called the dance floor, allows safe access for work on the upper ceilings and dome, and access to the attic space. Work in this area will include HAVC systems, structural steel, a catwalk, performance lighting, audio/visual equipment, platforms, acoustical reflectors, and stained glass in the dome. At it’s greatest, the dance floor is 30 feet above the floor of the Great Hall.

Back to the article index