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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 61 (50)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 61
Page 61

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 61

The Quonset Arch Has Earned Consideration

Dozens Now Built and More Under Construction Are Best Proof of Economy and Functional Adaptability

The prefabricated type of theatre has become a subject for wide discussion, and some of the statements made in published articles appear to be more or less ttof'f hand,n showing lack of full knowledge of the subject by both architects and exhibitors. For instance, a contemporary publication quoted some architects as dismissing the Quonset type of construction by stating, tiQuonsets cost more than carefully planned theatres."

Basic Considerations

This factory-fabricated building is, in the writers opinion, particularly adapted in the construction of certain types of theatres in certain locations, but is sometimes handicapped by the term tlhut," which was given it during the war. The fact is that this building, which so adequately fulfilled its mission during the war because it could be erected quickly, and used for housing, storage, and many other purposes, is a building in every sense of the word as contrasted to the publicized term "hut," which impresses the layman, when he hears the word, that something temporary, and in most cases, war surplus, is being referred to and foisted on an unsuspecting public. Such is far from fact. The Quonset has been re-designed as a permanent structure to meet the nation's post-war civilian needs.

The Quonset building, which is being recommended for use in erection of theatres up to about 650 seats, is a specially designed construction for this particular use, and the manufacturers will not knowingly allow one of their buildings to be sold for a theatre unless it is of the type especially designed for such use. Furthermore, the mistaken idea some prospective owners have, that this type of construction can be economically constructed on one location, and later dismantled and erected on another piece of property, is erroneous in all but the most simple cases. The especially designed Quonset does, however, provide a cheap, efficient, enclosure for the auditorium portion of the theatre, so far as the roof and walls are concerned, but permanent floors, foundations, and retaining walls will, in most cases, be required in the same manner as in standard construction.

In order to produce a good looking and inviting facade, the front of this type of theatre, including the marquee, boxofiice, entrance lobby, projection booth, etc., should be a well designed ensemble using the same materials and type of construction as used in the usual type of theatre.

The factory-fabricated portion above referred to, requires, on account of the loads imposed on the structure for thermal and acoustical treatment, plaster, duct work, drapes and decorations,

much stronger design and construction than the standard buildings which are to be used only for storage and other purposes. The manufacturers have taken these items, together with provision for wind and snow loading, into consideration in the design of their product for use in theatre construction. In general, this additional structural strength is procured by doubling the number of ribs,

thus retaining economic advantage of'

mass-production of building parts. These deviations from standard are in the province of any qualified architect or engineer. Such professional advice is advisable to insure that the Quonset construction is used to best advantage.

Codes and Restrictions

Although, at present, some state and city building codes do not recognize this type of construction for theatres, they do not necessarily prohibit it. They do, in most cases, call for masonry walls, a requirement which obviously cannot be met in this type of construction. In such cases, it is necessary to get special rulings from the authorities having jurisdiction before permits will be granted.

First introduced as a serious, lowercost building method in the 1946-47 Edition of THEATRE CATALOG the prefabricated Quonset arch has earned its place as a method to be thoughtfully considered whenever theatres of up to 600 are being planned.

0n the other hand, several states have already approved this type of construction outside of certain nre limits. It is the opinion of most competent authorities that this type of construction is not applicable in congested areas, but is adaptable to smaller communities and neighborhood theatres.

Thermal Insulation

Since the outer covering of the Quonset is corrugated steel, it is necessary to provide for thermal insulation of this outside skin to prevent condensation, and also to prevent the escape of heat in the winter time, and exclude it in the summer. There are, at present, several products on the market which will solve this problem satisfactorily. This, again, calls for technical advice which takes into consideration local factors of temperature and humidity.

Acoustical Treatment

On account of the semi-circular shape of the Quonset, the acoustical properties must be studied carefully, and treatment applied to obtain best benefits from curvature of the walls and ceiling with out producing a ttdeadl, house. It. is possible, with certain materials, to combine the thermal insulation and the acoustical treatment, using only one material, and thereby making a substantial saving in the cost, but sacrificing something in the way of interior appearance of the audi- . torium. The requirements for acoustical treatment in this type of auditorium must be determined by careful and intelligent analysis the same as for a standard type theatre.

Stadium Type

Due to. the fact that the 40' 0" Quonset, when set on foundation walls approximately 5' 0" above grade, produces sufiicient height at the rear without additional cost so far as the enclosure is concerned, it will be found economical to design a stadium type when the greatest possible number of seats are desired, using the space under the stadium for lobby, retiring rooms, etc. The framing and support for the stadium or for a mezzanine will necessarily have to be entirely separate from the Quonset construction so far as any actual support for the same is concerned.

General Layout

With a standard 40/ O" Quonset, it is possible to lay out a seating plan with two aisles, a center bank of 11 seats, and two side banks with four seats each, giving a total of 19 seats per row, and since variations in the length of the seating area can be made by adding or subtracting sections in multiples of 4i 0", it is possible to adapt this type of construction to any size property with a minimum width of approximately 52' 0". This width allows for a 5' 0" court on each side. The most economical unit by which the length can be varied would be 8' 0", which will increase or decrease the seating capacity by exactly three rows, each 32 inches back to back.

If sufficient property is available, an additional 20' 0" section can be included at the stage end of the auditorium, in which the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning equipment can economically be installed, thereby not requiring expensive excavation for these utilities.

Special Details

On account of the circular shape of this construction, it will be found necessary to provide for special reinforcement in the foundation walls on the two longer sides of the auditorium, as the structural characteristics of the building produce approximately 200 pounds of thrust per lineal foot of wall.

It will also be found necessary to provide for special flashing where the prefabricated portion rests on the foundation wall to take care of the water condition, and to provide concrete gutters in the exit court construction to carry

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 61