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When the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio (established in 1907) underwent a major expansion in 1933, a 1,750-seat concert hall was added and it was designed in an atmospheric style.
The space was designed to evoke the sense of a Greek “agora”; an agora being a gathering, meeting, or assembly place. The auditorium is surrounded by a peristyle, which is a continuous colonnaded porch area surrounding the perimeter of an inner space or courtyard, and that’s what gives the theatre its name. The atmospheric style was chosen to make the concert hall evoke the sense of an ancient open-air Greek theatre.
Just ahead of the theatre’s opening the Dayton Daily News noted that “One of the chief items of interest is the ceiling. That is gentle domed, and upon it can be placed any effect from a bright warm sunlight to a night sky shimmering with stars and moonlight”.
The Peristyle is the winter home of the Toledo Symphony and the Toledo Opera .
The lobby of the theatre is also designed in the atmospheric style; as a small courtyard. Replacement of the 1930s cove lighting with more energy-efficient fixtures was a project featured by the Toledo Museum of Art in 2011.
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