Wyeth Architects

Wyeth Architects

Chester, CT


Wyeth Architects Receives Fourth Connecticut Architectural Award for Legacy Theatre

By evanschl
Dec 14, '22 12:44 PM EST

Wyeth Architects LLC is honored to receive a Merit Award from The Connecticut Green Building Council for their work on the Legacy Theatre.  

The award acknowledges excellence in design and construction practice that supports the broader goals of accelerating the equitable, healthy, resilient, and sustainable transformation of the built environment in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

The Legacy Theatre has been recognized with four statewide architectural awards this year, including a Sustainable Architecture Award from AIA Connecticut, a Preservation Connecticut Award, and the Elizabeth Mills Brown Award of Excellence.

The project team included Leonard Wyeth, Sara Holmes & David Petersen of Wyeth Architects, a LEED-accredited firm in Chester, Connecticut specializing in Passive House design. Their past projects include Ireland's Great Hunger Museum and the Mark Twain Library.

The Legacy Theatre was built in 1886 as a non-denominational church for the residents and visitors to Stoney Creek in Branford, Connecticut, and has been used as a puppet museum, a home for Orson Welles’ theater troupe, a silent movie house, and a parachute factory. The non-profit theater group Legacy Theatre purchased the property in 2013, called for renovations and restoration, and opened its doors in 2021.

Today it is a 127-seat theater with dressing rooms and state-of-the-art rigging, lighting, and sound systems. Every inch has been optimized, with spaces overlapping and interlocking. An accessible stage and tech booth have been added for the Legacy’s Wheel Life Theatre Troupe “for those who ambulate with crutches or use wheelchairs.”

The entire building — from building systems to theatrical lighting and rigging — is all-electric. There are no fossil fuels on-site.

Sophisticated, efficient, electric air-to-air heat pump mechanical systems provide heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning. An enthalpy recovery ventilator, with MERV 13 filters constantly bringing in fresh air, and an in-duct ultraviolet light and ionic plates, capable of killing viruses, help provide a healthy indoor environment. It was critical for patrons to feel safe, as the theater courageously opened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

These efforts yield a remarkably low air leakage rate for a theater, let alone an adapted masonry building – 1.21 at ACH50. Summer energy use — with rehearsals, set work, and day and evening programming — averaged only 10.5 kWh. The low-energy demand also helps this non-profit financially, through low electrical bills.

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Photo: Sara Holmes and Leonard Wyeth of Wyeth Architects at the 2022 AIA CT Awards Gala, November 15, 2022