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Home Architectural: News, Designs & Projects Rialto Theater: Historic Venue in Bozeman, Montana, Reborn with Modern Enhancements

Rialto Theater: Historic Venue in Bozeman, Montana, Reborn with Modern Enhancements

Present Rialto

The Rialto is a live music venue, performing arts theater, and gathering space located in the heart of downtown Bozeman, Montana. After a complete restoration in 2018, the venue now has three unique spaces within one building, perfect for catching a concert or grabbing a drink.

A Rich History

The Rialto has been a part of the Bozeman area since 1908 — originally built as a storefront and U.S. post office. The iconic venue officially became a theater in 1924, where it showed silent film screenings throughout the ‘20s. Eventually, the Rialto transitioned into showing more feature films until the early ‘80s. In 1982, the venue underwent a complete renovation, with improvements on everything from concessions to the acoustics. The Rialto then showed documentaries, feature films, and classics until 2005 when its doors closed.

The building sat vacant for about 10 years until new ownership decided it was time to bring the space back to life. Opening once again in 2018 after a complete enhancement and restoration, the Rialto now provides Bozeman and the surrounding areas with a vibrant and beautiful space.

Historic Rialto

Restoration & Enhancement

After sitting vacant for 10 years, the new owners of the Rialto theater knew there would need to be some major renovations and restorations in order to create a modern venue that still represented its original, historical roots. Of course, the architects faced the challenges of bringing the building up to modern day code while still maintaining its historical integrity. Rather than competing with or taking away from what was already there, they decided it was best to add to it.

Now comprised of three exceptional spaces, the Rialto is the perfect place to watch live music and concerts in the Black Box Theater, host meetings and events in the Light Box, or enjoy your favorite cocktail at the Burn Box. Each space was renovated to create a modernized, out-of-the-ordinary experience.

Black Box Theater Meets Perforated Metal

In order to create the ideal space for musical performance and acoustics in the Black Box Theater of the Rialto, the designers and builders knew they needed state-of-the-art materials to produce an out-of-this-world experience. That’s why they decided to use metal panels. Contrary to what many believe, metal actually creates an exceptional musical experience and has great sound absorption qualities when it’s combined with the right acoustical materials.

Backed with layers of soundproof material, Corrugated and Custom Flat perforated metal panels cover the entire space, from ceiling to floor. Perforated metal is actually a primary component in noise control systems because the perforations allow sound waves to travel through the metal and enter the sound-absorbing materials. The designers actually created the space so that no matter where you’re standing in the Black Box Theater, the frequency and volume remains the same. This means no shouting when you’re trying to talk to fellow show attendees, and you can talk and listen comfortably. The combination of soundproof layers and perforated metal panels, plus the thoughtful design, makes for one amazing musical experience.

Black Box Concert

Having been reopened for 6 years, Bozeman and the surrounding areas now enjoy a vibrant venue and event space that enhances the adventurous nature of the community.

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