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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 33 (23)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 33
Page 33

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 33

Plans Alone-Do Not Create a Theatre

An Outline of the Necessary Highly Specialized Knowledge, Ability, Experience and Diligence

According to the views of Architects John and Drew Eberson, the service of a skilled theatre designer should start with the very selection of the lot, and end only with the successful running opening night. The theatre owner or lessee should be consulted and queried on his objectives and operating technique; but should never be bothered with details even as minute as the keys and ashtrays. That is what the architect is paid for. And that is why he must have a thorough knowledge of the theatre industry and theatre operation, in order to earn his

Many millions can read lines,abut there are only a very few great actors. Many millions can cook,abut there are only a very few great chefs. Many millions can draw and paintabut there are only a very few great artists. To become great or even proficient in any endeavor, there are certain definite ingredients of training, experience, work, and creative gray-matter that must be carefully husbanded and coordinated in order to produce an above average result.

The practical profession of architecture has its own definite ingredients necessary to success, which could probably be summarized as:

1. Well -organized experience

knowledge of objectives.

2. The ability to create a Well-integrated functional plan.

3. Thorough supervision that leans on experience to premeditate the most minute details of structure, decoration and equipment.

Because theatres are very highly specialized types of buildings, the possess sion of all three of these ingredients as they apply to the theatre building is a basic necessity for the theatre architect. To have theatre knowledge with out originality in plan or attention to detail is not enough. To be a good draftsman without knowledge of the theatre or ability to Supervise is not enough. To be a good supervisor without the experience to know what to supervise or have skilled plans is not enough. All three must be there, and each is as important as the others, if a good, workable, attractive theatre is to result.

An interesting insight to the many ramifications with which a theatre architect has to contend, may be observed in the following fictional conversation which is typical of the disoussions be tween architects and prospective theatre builders.



Mr. S.: ffGood morning, John. It's been a long time. Remember that theatre you designed for me about six years ago?"

J. E.: (Yes, indeed, Sam. What can I do for youim

Mr. 8.: the11, the old house is still there, and in fine condition. Painted the outside once or twice but the interior is good as newslld like to build a neighborhood theatre in A to seat about 1,000 people. live got two possible locations, and want to discuss them with you. You can help me make a decision since you sit in on so many conferences with others. I saw a theatre you designed in H a, and its that type I have in mind. I liked the layout. What was the cost?"

D. E.: uPlenty! But its the best theatre in the town, and the owner was anxious to build a bigger and better house to avoid any possible competition."

Mr. 8.: UI have one location on the main thorofare, and another on the edge of the commercial section between the residential district and the shopping area. The first is a typical corner located on two streets with an alley in the rear. The Second is much larger and deeper, and if I buy the property in the rear, I can provide for off-street parking? .

J. E.: ttThe one nearer the residential district would be much better."

D. E.: HDefinitely! On your survey sheets it shows that there is a high school within a block and a half of your second site, and your main street lot

adjoins the postofhce. Not so good. Thatls another reason why the neighborhood site would be much more advantageous. As far as lot sizes go, you could take the neighborhood lot, and lay out a theatre so that the economical width of the theatre auditorium can be dictated by the maximum legal number of seats in a row. That can,t be done with the main street lot, which will probably cost more anyhow}7

J. E.: HHave you decided whether you want a one-floor house or do you want a small balconyiw

D. 13.: "Have you studied the advantages and disadvantages of a stadiumtype theatre?"

Mr. 8.: Whats what I want to discussF v

J. E.: HAnalyzing the first lot, and considering its shape and size, a onedoor house will serve your purpose best. It will cost less than the stadium or balcony types and be easier to manage. But, just what would be your operating policy, a one or two price house? Smoking?"

D. E.: HIt might work out to your advantage to build a stadium type, and place stores under the stadium portion. But it will cost more and the bother of handling the stores might not pay. A one-floor house would be most economical. Your survey shows watermain, storm and sanitary sewers all in very good spots. And your lot slopes toward the rear. This will give you less excavation and height of wall. Your neighborhood lot is also facing west, and the

DREW AND HIS FATHER, below, in one corner of their office, are discussing the possibility of an improvement in the El Ruble theatre and office building in Mexico. Under Iohn Eberson's arm may be seen another rendering, that of the lunin theatre and office building in Caracas. Venezuela. Such discussions as these have often led to new designs for which the Ebersons have long been famous.
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 33