Theatre Gems: Here is wonderful news from our friends at CJS Architects!

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on November 30, 2015 at 2:11 pm


Buffalo Architecture Foundation (BAF) is pleased to announce Dirk Schneider, AIA, Partner at CJS Architects, as the recipient of the Pro Bono Publico Award in Distinguished Service for his remarkable commitment to the historic Chautauqua Amphitheater.

The Chautauqua Institution is internationally renowned as a progressive forum for American culture and enlightenment. Built in 1893, the 4,000-seat Chautauqua Amphitheater has welcomed millions of visitors to significant educational, religious, and entertainment programs featuring distinguished historic luminaries. The esteemed venue is recognized as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

When the Institution discussed plans to replace this iconic contributing structure to the National Historic Chautauqua District with a replica, the Committee to Preserve the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater formed and launched the Save the Amp campaign. The Committee began collaborating with CJS Architects in November of 2014 and noted that Schneider “immediately became a valuable partner” in their mission to present alternatives to demolition and to bring transparency to a challenging and often contentious process.

The Committee credited Schneider with developing a sustainable, “practical and refreshingly logical” approach to maintaining the building’s historic integrity while meeting the Institution’s key objectives of improving safety, accessibility, capacity and functionality.

Paul Goldberger, a Contributing Editor for Vanity Fair, as well as former Architecture Critic for The New Yorker and The New York Times praised CJS Architects’ “intelligent, creative and exciting” proposal for demonstrating “that it is possible to bring this structure to a 21st century standard without destroying it.”

The Pro Bono Award jury was intrigued by “the flexibility and transitional quality of the solutions”, which allow for the amphitheater to evolve with the needs of the Institution.

Schneider notes, “I believe that pro bono work…is one of the best ways practitioners can have a positive impact on their communities.”

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ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres on our website at

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