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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 113 (93)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 113
Page 113

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 113

of a California theatre with a lamella roof, there would be no chance of damage caused by falling fragments. Due to its interlaced construction, it is impossible for a lamella roof to split into pieces, as other types of roof structures likely would under severe stress. If natural disturbances grew severe to the point where no.roof could stand the strain, a lamella type would fall as an entity, in ffbasket-like" fashion, and not in dangerous segments. Even should this ultimate contingency take place, there is, nonetheless, good reason to believe that the lamella roof would not indict serious harm to people beneath it because of its singular high-arched construction.



Free spans of great width are provided by lamella roof framing at reasonable, competitive cost. Experience has shown that this type of roof structure, when used in combination with such structural thrust supports as buttresses, has more than proven economical in initial cost and operation. The cost per square foot varies with the span, roof design load, location, and wage scales in effect in a particular locality. Estimates may be obtained from member companies of the Lamella Associates scattered throughout the country.

In general, lamella roofs are furnished complete with roof deck erected and ready for the roofer. In some instances, the Lamella Associate provides the prefabricated units, plus hardware and detailed erection diagrams and specitications, and the general contractor takes the job from that point. In other cases, the Lamella Associate furnishes detailed cutting and erection diagrams and specifications, along with special hardware, on a fee basis. An experienced lamella foreman is usually available on a per diem basis for such occasions.


The structural elements of the lamella roof have won enthusiastic acclaim for their decorative effects in churches, auditoriums, ball rooms, lodges, restaurants, cocktail lounges, and theatres. Some more enterprising architects and builders have accentuated the natural appeal of the pattern by staining the lamellas; still others have capitalized on the native beauty of the wood by using a natural finish, or by painting it.

Finally, rigid insulation board in plain colors has been used in the panels formed by the lamellas, or patterns have been stenciled right on the lamella edges. In short, the variety of pleasing effects to which the lamellas naturally lend themselves is almost 1nfinite in its scope.


Thus the lamella roof marks another milestone along the road to new and better forms of theatre construction. It has been objectively presented for the due consideration of theatre architects, builders, and owners, with the thought that they may iind its rather unique characteristics particularly advantageous when next they turn to the drawing boards.

Aside from offering the perennial insulation, acoustical, aesthetic, and economical advantages of wood, the lamella roof is distinguished by safety factors which should endear it to the heart of every far-sighted theatreman. Its intrinsic adaptability to all sorts of decorative schemes also makes it a construction device well worth further attention.

It is not reckless to predict a rosy future for the lamella roof because of the many appealing factors it incorporates. Although its use, in the East at least, may for a time be restricted to smaller theatre construction, the passing of time should see it make steady inroads into larger projects with the assets it has to offer. For the time being, however, it can admirably play an important role in the small theatre construction field throughout the country because it is in this building category that the low cost of wood is a particularly entrancing element.

Furthermore, from a practical point of View, building codes to the contrary notwithstanding, the safety of the audience is not a consideration if the theatre building is of a slow-burning construction. In a theatre fire, the audience that is not evacuated within ten minutes is the victim of bad planning and inadequate exits, and not of the fire itself. Therefore, if the theatre building is isolated by streets or parking lots and shares no common wall with neighboring buildings, the same slow-burning construction permitted in schools,>churches, auditoriums, garages, and similar buildings in the same area, should be permitted in it. Well-constructed wooden trusses, which have been adequately chemically I'ireproofed, have been known to hold up under actual tire conditions, long after steel girders beside them have bent and collapsed.

Wood should not be discounted as a theatre structural material.


THE HELIX, LAMESA. CALIF. This gem of a medium sized theatre rose from the concrete foundations (top) through the various stages of construction, sheathing, roofing and interior decorch tion to the finished air view at the lower left.
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 113