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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 187 (165)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 187
Page 187

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 187

sharp exposed edges. It further means that managements will have to consider more frequent redecoration so as to keep the theatre in trim and, at the same time, to satisfy the preference of its following for changes just for their own sake. If decoration is handled in the way described, this should not represent a major problem. Changes can vary the treatment of surfaces without disrupting the decorative scheme altogether.

Front, Lobby and Foyers

Front, lobbies, and foyers will necessarily be included in the reshaping of the theatre. Formerly, a sort of climaxe from the outside through the outer and inner lobby to the foyer-was supposed to prepare the visitor for the attendance at a performance. This architectural view point has been lost almost completely by the commercial idea of distributive methods. The front and lobbies have changed into display and advertising areas. In present practice, little thought is given to their decorative subordination to any persistent scheme; things are rather done in a haphazard way. Atrocious frames and fixtures, announcements and posters in wild colors obliterate the old marble architectures with vulgar cheapness. Over-bright lights guide the eyes to all unpleasant details and clashing inconsistencies. If some 0f the care department stores use in display and on the approaches to the selling areas Would be given to those arcade-like traffic areas, they would look very much different from what they usually do. The fact that they have been taken awayain most instances, at leastafrom the architect's concern is the explanation, but certainly it is no ex AN OBSOLETE AUDITORIUM IS REMODELED as suggested. In this longitudinal sketch, Professor Sobotka shows how an old-style theatre may be done over. A new floor is laid, to permit more rows of seats and to eliminate the orchestra pit. The well hole on the balcony foyer has been closed. The ornamental dome has

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Proscenium boxes lob: eliminated



cuse for their cluttered appearance. A thorough planning by the designer will have to give them a basically new treatment, according to their importance. To begin with, the posters and announcements themselves should be raised to a higher level of design, but that is not enough. The progressive idea of display includes the whole setting in a new concept of "Visual Selling." The same principle has to be applied in remodeling the front and the lobbies.

In some theatres the lobby has been remodeled; but this has not gone far enough in incorporating display and advertising into the new scheme. Theatre fronts above the marquee are hopelessly neglected; this should be another valuable display area of which advantage is not yet taken, except for temporary billboard constructions with huge posters for special shows. Instead of all these improvisations, new ideas will come to be presented and could well be applied to


The foyer has now the more important duty of inserting a restful place in between the turmoil of the lobby and the comparative silence and darkness of the auditorium. The catching of the visitor's attention and the absorbing of his interests by; advertising should now change into an atmosphere of composing restfulness. This purpose will have to be expressed and furthered by a more intimate setting, moderate lighting, dignified and not too fancy decoration, heavy carpeting, all of them serving the purpose of repose and expectation. Candy-bars, fountains, approaches to restrooms have to be integrated into the scheme from

its beginning.

Obiects of Art

In general, the theatre is not the place for displaying works of the Fine Arts. In particular, they should never be put in places of traffic or places where they meet the competition of advertisements. Thus, the lobbies are definitely excluded. The foyerls specific atmosphere and layout may justify sculpture, for example, even as a main feature. Art should at any time be a main feature whenever it is brought into its right place. Pictorial murals as well should not be done just to cover an empty wall. If the subject is not directly pertinent to the specific case, the often-occurring allegorical themes are only a poor substitute. This and other old-fashioned types of subjects have little hold on the interests of the public and certainly not on motion picture fans. Abstract designs, of artistic level of course, and photographic murals are probably less pretentious and more suitable for the purpose.


The coming years will prove that remodelings should be done in a broadminded spirit. Let us not destrOy the assets of an auditorium just for a change, but discard all features which may be too mindful of the old, outworn splendor. A certain amount of conservatism is perfectly all right, but it is unavoidable that a new, unprecedented type of work will ask for some progressiveness in the attitude of managements and some freedom for the architect or designer in exploring a new field.

been closed off. And four rows have been added to the balcony, without disturbing the line of sight from even the standees. In the text, Professor Sabotka discusses these changes and the reasons for making them, as well as taking Up such other considerations as what to do with prosceniums, useless boxes, etc.


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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 187