Billings, Montana


Alberta Bair Theater


24,500 square feet; 30,600 square feet (suggested expansion)


2007, Design only

Project Highlights

(rendering credit: Jim Collins)


In early 2007, High Plains Architects was approached by the board of the Alberta Bair Theater (ABT) to do a feasibility study for an expansion and remodel of their current theater. With the ABT’s 20th Anniversary fast approaching, this study was scheduled to be revealed at the 20th Anniversary Gala Event in May 2007. Unveiled to several hundred theater fans, the first impressions of the feasibility study generated much excitement.

The exterior rendering of the proposed theater remodel depicts a soaring addition that would add two levels to the Broadway side of the theater and three levels to the Third Avenue side, creating an additional 5,000 to 7,000 square feet of space. Adding square footage would allow for a larger lobby, more restrooms, handicap access to all levels via elevator, consolidation of ABT operations into one building, all of which will improve the overall comfort and flow of theater patrons. Incorporating a more transparent facade will serve to add interest to a seemingly lack-luster facade by showcasing the goings-on inside the theater, creating a lively connection between the building and passers-by on the street.

The theater was once known as “The Lantern on Broadway,” and it is High Plains Architects’ hope that this remodel will bring that idea back to the forefront both figuratively and literally; the literal being the architectural interpretation of the spire anchored at the corner of the building. This feature not only gives the building a resounding physical presence in downtown Billings, but it can also serve as a beacon to theater enthusiasts.
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