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MCA received the 2021 Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for the Paramount Theater façade rehabilitation and restoration project in Oakland, CA. The project included restoration of the 1930 polychrome terra cotta mosaic and the neon blade sign at the iconic Paramount Theater.

The mosaic at the main entrance of the theater was designed to attract and engage both audience members and passersby in Oakland, California. The Paramount Theater is a National Historic Landmark and has several character defining features on the exterior. The overarching goal of the restoration was to maintain the terra cotta tile mosaic while conforming to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Historic Preservation Project Overview

MCA was retained for the project beginning in 2018. MCA performed hands-on surveys to determine the extent of terra cotter deterioration and to ascertain the overall condition of the façade. Glazing spalls were determined to be common, which is expected of 90 year old terra cotta. There were over 70 different colors of tiles used on the intricate mosaic. Several tiles required replacement and were matched and manufactured by the original tile maker located in the San Francisco Bay Area. After the tiles were repaired a grid of helical anchors were installed to provide seismic reinforcement.

The neon light blade sign divides the two halves of the tile mosaic. The sign was cleaned, repaired, and repainted. The incandescent light bulbs were replaced with long lasting, environmentally efficient, LED bulbs, while the historic neon tubes were reinstalled.

About Governor’s Historic
Preservation Awards

“The Governor’s Historic Preservation Awards were started in 1986 by Governor George Deukmejian. The Awards program is distinguished from other preservation awards in two important respects: it emphasizes involvement by community groups; and it recognizes a broad array of preservation activities, from building rehabilitation to archaeology, interpretation, and preservation planning. Since 1986, more than two hundred organizations, individuals, and agencies have been recognized for their outstanding work throughout the state on behalf of preservation.”

– California Department of Parks and Recreation

The Governor’s Award is a statewide project and this project was the only recipient in the San Francisco Bay Area. This project is also a finalist for the AIA East Bay Design Awards in the Historic Preservation category.

MCA would like also like to give special praise to our staff members who worked on this award winning project:

Jeff Chen

Principal in Charge

Jacqui Hogans

Project Manager

Derek Sedgwick

Field Project Manager

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