Design Challenge

The Ellis Block, an historic three story brick structure lies in the heart of downtown Springfield. Partially damaged by a fire in 2008, the client sought to renovate the structure into affordable housing, commercial space, and a multi-theater cinema, while addressing concerns of energy efficiency, durability, and accessibility.


Maclay Architects worked in collaboration with Housing Vermont and the Springfield Housing Authority to restore and renovate the mixed-use building. The project was supported by both state and federal grants. Outside, restoration of trim details, the Art Deco relief, and the theater marquee returned the façade to its former glory. Inside, the theater incorporates Art Deco details including wainscot and coffered metal ceilings, while accommodating modern theater equipment.


The Springfield Cinema opened to a sold out crowd, and continues to serve the community, while the nine units of affordable housing were totally occupied within 6 months of opening. The project both serves as a model for, and contributes to the larger effort to preserve historic buildings and revitalize Vermont downtowns. It received the 2013 Downtown and Village Center Award for Best Building Renovation by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Project Details


Springfield VT




15,500 sf