In the space of two years Culver City lured two major dramatic groups to its spearhead its downtown revitalization by supporting the renovation of local landmarks for live performances. Steven Ehrlich Architects and Robert F Mahoney & Associates have been key players in both these projects.
Adaptive re-use of older buildings for the exacting technical demands of contemporary theatre is a tall order, demanding exceptional creativity and flexibility on the part of all the designers involved. The Ivy Substation at the intersection of Venice and Culver Boulevards in Culver City was particularly challenging. Originally built to house electrical distribution for the downtown Culver City area, the structure lacked everything a theater needed – except adequate electrical power!
Heavy traffic on the adjacent streets proved to be the principal challenge when the Center Theatre Group took temporary occupancy of the space while awaiting the completion of the Kirk Douglas Theater (another Mahoney & Associates project) just a few blocks away. Once CTG vacated the premises, the Actors’ Gang was quick to capitalize on the vacated space. With these two highly successful theaters for live drama spearheading the way, downtown Culver City has again sprung to life with vibrant nighttime activities throughout the week.