Bent’s Opera House

Designed by STUDIO SCM

Bent’s Opera House, also known as Bent’s Hall, is a three‐story building located at 444 Main Street in Medina, New York, in the United States. For many decades, Bent’s Opera House was a prominent venue in Medina for concerts, plays, shows, commencements, elections, and other public functions. As motion pictures and other forms of entertainment became popular in the twentieth century, the Opera House fell into disuse. In 2010, Bank of America, the building’s last commercial owner, donated the Bent’s Hall property to the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. (ORG). Leaders of ORG hope to restore the Opera House to its former glory as a functioning performance venue.


Samuel Elliot
Samuel Elliot
Catherine Lange
Catherine Lange
Mingbo Peng
Mingbo Peng

providing a dedicated and creative response to architectural problems in need of a solution


    How do we retain the value of the existing building, both economically and in the hearts of the village residents?

    This building is a cornerstone of this small community in upstate New York. We wanted to retain many of the historic elements on the façade, as well as the structural stone walls on the interior.


    How do we create a connection between the historic building and its modern uses?

    Because this building is so rich with history, our team wanted to highlight the new elements on the exterior by framing them with high-contrast steel frames. In this way, we are able to signal to the residents and visitors of the village that new activity is occupying the building. On the interior, we make sure to continue this concept of framing new elements by adding similar steel frames around openings through the structural stone walls.


    How do we improve daylight and natural ventilation conditions in the building to give the interior a sense of vibrancy and save on energy costs?

    After a preliminary building analysis on-site, we chose to focus on providing better daylight and ventilation to the interior spaces. By providing better light and ventilation naturally, there is opportunity for up to 26.7% energy cost savings.


    How do we connect the different uses on the floors?

    One issue with the existing building was the segregation of uses by floor. This new design concept aims to provide visual connections vertically, heightening the interest and complexity of the interior space. Layers of historic structural stone walls penetrate the building at regular intervals, while modern curtain walls and interior bridges add a modern layer. A vertical green wall spans the entire height of the interior space, offering a literal connection from basement to third floor.


    How do we retain the value of the existing building, both economically and in the hearts of the village residents?

    The basement level is given new life by adding light wells that bring daylight into its spaces. The new space is perfect for events and has a wine/beer tasting bar that could become a hip hangout in the village of Medina.


    How do we use the space as a social gathering place and promote Medina's local economy?

    On the first floor, we chose to include an open floor plan with stalls for local farmers and craftspeople to sell their goods. This concept will help to promote Medina’s local economy of farming, and bring a sense of fresh vibrancy into the building.

  • PLAY

    How do we make the interior more fun and play with the idea of inside/outside?

    We have created an interior balcony on the second floor that overlooks the market below. The second floor houses a restaurant and bar, which would be accessible by the public. On two sides lining the dining portion of the restaurant, there is a screen of vegetation, further reinforcing the idea of bringing the outside in.


    How do we maintain flexibility in the third floor performance space?

    The third floor was historically the performance space, and will live on in that capacity. Because the types of events hosted in this space vary from live performances to weddings, the space needs to be flexible and easy to use. We have designed a 3-way stage configuration that allows for multiple seating and performing patterns. Seating is movable, and can be easily stored when a more open space is needed.

  • 360 Panorama Views

    Click the buttons below to virtually explore the newly designed Bent's Opera House building in Medina, NY. (Supported devices: PC, Mac, iOS, Android)

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