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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 148 (137)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 148
Page 148

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 148

Laminated Wood Arches in Theatre Construction

Introduced Here in 1945, at Least Five Theatres Have Now Been Built With Glued Laminated Framing Members

The possible use of the glued laminated wood arch in moving picture theatre construction was originally

discussed in the 19454946 THEATRE CATALOG. At that time no theatres existed with the, laminated arch as an integral part of the edifice. Hoirerer. the discussion bore fruit and the year 1948 saw the appearance of several new theatres featuring laminated arch construction. After a consideration of the general aspects of the glued laminated member. including a brief resume of its history. specific theatres utilizing the iiwooden skeletoni, are described. In short, this section deals with the new role of a revitalized materiale wood: and its present and potential value to the entire theatre industry.


In the new era of theatre construction, attention is focussed as never before on the novel and unusual in building materials. Among the most interesting and potentially valuable of these are the glued laminated structural wood materialsstrusses, arches, rafters, and framing membersewhich permit the construction of sturdy and economical post-free spans up to 200 feet and more

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in width. The effects of this new development on theatre architecture in the next few years will be profound.


The production of laminated woods began on a mechanical basis in Germany and Sweden in the eighteen-eighties and in this country around the turn of the century. European designers and builders were quick to recognize the potential speed of manufacture, practicability, and economy of construction inherent in the new material.

Early European uses of glued-laminated construction appeared in the form of foot and canal bridges, hangars, railway shop and station-platform roofs, nursery and factory roofs. And in the middle nineteen-thirties, American companies, fortified with the knowledge obtained in fruitful research at the ethcient U. S. Forest Products Laboratory, began manufacturing wood laminated garages, stores, recreational buildings, hangars, warehouses, many varieties of farm buildings and more recentlysmoving picture theatres.

Large scale use of laminated trusses and framing members in the construction of auditoriums started and gained momentum during World War II with the building of hundreds of chapels, theatres, and recreation halls at army, navy, and marine corps posts. Some unusual and beautiful architectural effects were obtained, especially in the construc tion of religious chapels, but the most important advantage of these products during the war years was the great saving in time, labor and materials their use made possible.

It was during the war years, too, that a tremendous increase in the use of glued and laminated wood units in the construction of large industrial plants, farm buildings, and huge, postsfree aircraft hangars occurred. Many of the lessons that were to be applied later to the building of new moving picture theatres were learned in the crucible of war-time experience.

What Lamination Does To Wood

Actually, of course, laminated building materials are a new and different form of one of the oldest of building materials: wood. Wood per se suffers from several serious limitationssits strength is far below that of steel or concrete, it is not isotropic, it is not uniform in texture or strength, it is usually not suitable for large or complex structures.

However, when layers of wood are bonded together with resins in sandwich form, a minor miracle takes place. The natural tendency to shrink, swell, and warp is effectively neutralized and the unique properties ofzshigh tensile strength, high compressive strength,

BELOW: laminated arches, 152 feet in width. provide a rugged and economical homework {or a theatre auditorium with desirable acoustical properties and design possibilities.
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 148