The Yagüez Theater is located in the town of Mayagüez on the west side of the island of Puerto Rico. The building constitutes a city block with the City Hall within the city grid dating from 1760 and is located across from the Main Plaza and the Cathedral. The emblematic building was listed National Monument in 1976 and included in the Register of Historic Places in 1985.
The first Yagüez theater was built out of wood during the year 1909 at the initiative of Mr. Francisco Maymón, a daring project for the small Caribbean island at the time. Barely ten years after completion it was destroyed by a fire that caused many deaths.
This tragic event resulted in the conception of an even more ambitious project, that endures to this day. It was designed by Don Sabás Rivera Honoré in a neoclassical style with features of the "Belle Epoque" and "Baroque Eclectic" influence during the 1920's. And it became the cultural center for the region, with people referring to it as La Catedral del Arte Sonoro - "The Cathedral of Sound".
With the passing of time the structure deteriorated and in 1976 The Municipality of Mayagüez acquired the property and set in motion the restoration under the commission of Architect Carlos Archilla.
In the year 2000 our firm was hired once again to restore the iconic structure. The onslaught of hurricanes that have battered the island and inadequate maintenance made the hall inoperable within 20 years of the 1976 restoration.
We started by executing a careful documentation, diagnosis and historical research of the structure. With the air conditioning (mechanical system) completely broken, leaks in the roof panels that had damaged extensively the crafted plaster ceilings, the upholstery and carpets rotten, the white marble wainscot stained due to humidity, the stage props in poor condition, the lighting and the sound equipments obsolete and other problems, a holistic approach for the restoration was needed.
Once the preliminary diagnosis was in place we assemble a multidisciplinary team of consultants to execute the design. The challenge was to turn the collaboration into a coherent design, that incorporated the various requirements from the owner, building codes regulations and technical aspects.
But equally as important was to restore the spirit of dauntlessness that it enjoyed when it was first built. For this we introduced a new color scheme and finishes on the main hall, commonly used during the 1920's, and contemporary designs in the back of the stage.
Eight years later, after that first time we enter the hall, when the audience stood in ovation to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, we realized that The Yagüez Theater had reborn.