> > > >

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 149 (138)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 149
Page 149

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 149

fiexibility, immunity to fatigue and vibrationeare ideally realized. In its resistance to mechanical, physical and chemical attack, glued laminated wood is in most respects equal and in some superior to steel. In the critical strengthweight ratio, it probably surpasses any known material.

With the development and perfection of synthetic plastic binders which are moldable, the same possibilities were introduced into laminated wood structures that Maillart exploited in ferro-concrete. The new binders possess unusually great adhesive strength, in fact, under severe loading, the wood itself will fail before the joined pieces give way. Resistance to sliding and shear is as great between the layers as within the wood itself. And with many new plastic binders, the laminated unit is rendered resistant to fire, moisture, fungus, and insect attack.

Wood Is Fire- Resistant

After a long period of dominance by monolithic, steel-and-concrete construction, theatre architecture is beginning once more to favor wood and surprisingly enough, because of its fire resistance. Specialists in theatre design have seen steel-framed buildings totally destroyed by fire as the steel girders writhe and twist in the fierce heat, lose strength, pull down the walls and cause the roof to collapse.

On the other hand, they have noted how heavy laminated wood framing can help keep a building structurally intact during a bad fire; the laminated framing will char, but this is frequently a surface phenomenon that retards destruction. The strength of the framing is only slightly impaired. Fire-proofing of the glued laminated framing member can be effectively accomplished by impregnating or coating the wood members with a fire-retardant, and joining the laminations with a non-infiammable binder.

Design Possibilities

The glued laminated arch most popular for theatre construction consists of two rigid half sections bolted or hinged at the crown. Roof support and vertical column, being identical, provide far greater stability than do separate trusses and supporting columns artificially connected. Construction is simplicity itself. Glued-laminated rafters go into place speedily and easily without the use of highly specialized building mechanics and equipment. And the availability of a large variety of such forms provides the theatre builder with a large diversity from which to choose.

New design possibilities are opened up by this new and greatly simplified methe od of clear-span theatre construction with factory-fabricated roof trusses, arches, beams and continuous structural members. Delivered to the job-site ready for fast erection, these built-up members escape the old limitations imposed by the size and shape of the log; and provide for a wide clear span. Their use makes possible artistic and graceful interiors; and their spacing at regular intervals establishes a spatial pattern of strong rhythmical accents.

Nor is the factor of strength ever ig I38

nored. The modern metal timber connectors (split rings, shear plates and other types) used in assembling these trusses and framing members develop 80 per cent or more of the working strength of the wood, as compared with 40 to 60 per cent developed by the bolt, rod and gusset plate method. At the same time, there is a big saving in steel, since under certain conditions, one pound of metal connectors replaces eleven pounds of steel bolts, nuts, rods and plates.


The traditional advantages of woods its high insulation value, its workability, sound-deadening properties, durability, aesthetic valueeare present in laminated wood together with the additional benefits of economy in time, labor and materials. It can be used to good effect without further finishing or, if desired, it can be easily and effectively decorated. The typical simplicity of the glued lam; inated arch facilitates theatre decoration by providing freedom from cobweb trusses which interfere with ceiling height, treatment, lighting and ventilation. Used as an integral part of an allwood room, the laminated arch forms the basis of a motion picture theatre auditorium with the finest acoustical propertieseand this is possible without the installation of special acoustical materials. To sum up, the multi-ply laminated wood arch is an important new material in theatre construction, both functionally and aesthetically, and can be used to good advantage in new building, especially when costs must be held to a minimum. 1

Typical Examples In Theatres

Now that restrictions have been lifted

TYPE 54 Rilco Arch Halter provides continuous framing lrom foundation to root ridge, permits unusual flexibility in interior decoration.

TYPE 62 Rilco Bowstring Truss, utilized in widespan construction. In this truss, the top and lower chords are glued-laminated members.


TYPE '70 Rilco Tied Rutter. This light-weight member provides great structuralgstrength wherever wide post-tree spans are desued.

on theatre construction, new commercial theatres built with laminated trusses and framing members are beginning to appear around the country. These examples have been confined mostly to smaller theatres, a field in which laminated wood construction is apparently destined to become prominent because of its outstanding success and the ecoe nomic factors involved in modern theatre construction.



Arthur Mayer and Joseph Jacobs. San Francisco. Calif.

Architect: Harold Onstead. San Francisco. Calif.

Long a summer mecca for vacationists and lattereday hedonists, Capitola, California, until 1948 was a town without a theatre. For years the little West Coast city did a land-office business during the summer months only to hibernate through the other three seasons, marking time until the next wave of summer seashore visitors energized the local s:ene. For amusement, both visitors and residents could take their pick of ocean beach, dance hall, skating rink and the usual beach attractions . . . but no theatre. Faced with the ultimatum that the entire investment would have to be supported by business whipped up in the summer months, theatre men avoided Capitola in favor of greener pastures.

However, with the increase in permanent residents (part of Californials war legacy) as an incentive, two San Franciscans who had been constant summer visitors and who were property owners in the community, decided in 1947 that the idea of a theatre was feasible, if the capital investment could be held within reasonable limits.

As soon as this condition was admitted, a possible dilemma presented itself. The planners were well aware that following the dictates of low cost construction might result in sacrifice in audience comfort, acoustics and appearance. Such a sacrifice would be detrimental to business but, conversely, the comparatively weak drawing power of the locale did not justify heavy expenditures.

To resolve the dilemma, the San Franciscans, Arthur Mayer and Joseph Jacobs spent a year in research, in 0bserving small theatres throughout the United States and in comparing the results obtainable from various kinds of construction and material. A capable architect was selected to draw up the plans and then began a series of conferences with theatre equipment suppliers, insurance underwriters, heating, ventilating, electrical and structural engineers, as well as other technical men, and the all-important contractor. So diligently did Mayer and Jacobs labor that the final plans were ready long before the removal of restrictions on April 1,

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 149