A newly renovated live performance venue unites an iconic historic building and interior with state-of-the-art sound, production and stage design at the UCLA Nimoy Theater. Known now as The Nimoy and named for the actor and philanthropist Leonard Nimoy, the updating of a landmarked, Art Deco-inspired renovation from the late-1980s creates a new home for the Center for the Art of Performance UCLA, said preservation architect Page & Turnbull, which collaborated with the project’s architect, BAR Architects & Interiors.

According to Page & Turnbull, The Nimoy reimagines the historic Crest Theatre, also called the UCLAN Theatre, from a historic 1940s movie and performing arts venue and its more recent landmarked renovation into an engaging, modern cultural offering full of original architectural detailing and art.

An influential leader in architecture for important cultural centers, Page & Turnbull’s deep portfolio includes its current restoration of San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre, along with the recent reinvention of a former library into the Riverside Art Museum’s The Cheech and its work as architect for The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.

The latest renovations of the building that houses The Nimoy — which UCLA acquired in 2018 in part through a major gift from Leonard Nimoy’s widow, Susan Bay Nimoy — focused on enhancing the theatergoing experience, enlarging the entrance lobby, adding a new bar and improving the upper lobby and support spaces, said John D. Lesak, AIA, FAPT, principal of Page & Turnbull.

Page & Turnbull’s preservation of the live performance venue’s historic fabric centered on the restoration of the historic auditorium mural, a 230-foot-long depiction of a stylized 1930s Los Angeles cityscape, created by scenic artist Bill Anderson and a centerpiece of the 1987 renovations.

The design team’s additional preservation work extends to Art Deco-inspired elements that highlight the prominent character of the 299-seat performing arts space, including versatile staging and seating. Among the distinctive elements preserved by Page & Turnbull’s architects are the theater’s historic marquee, lighting fixtures, decorative columns and wall-mounted interior decorative pylons, designed by Disney Imagineer Joseph Musil during the 1987 work. The stage proscenium has also been preserved yet is hidden from view. Pending certification through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, the venue’s renovation adds energy-efficient systems, creates healthy indoor air quality and extensively reuses existing structures and finishes.

Page & Turnbull UCLA Nimoy Theater Rendering

Photo courtesy of Page & Turnbull

The preservation and modernization of the UCLA Nimoy Theater transforms an unusual, idle landmark into an active community asset that helps fill the niche for smaller-scaled live performances, said Lesak, who leads Page & Turnbull’s busy Los Angeles office. “It’s rewarding to know this theater’s preservation and revitalization are supporting the arts and bringing people together, strengthening the vitality of its Westwood Village neighborhood,” he said.