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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 20 (xx)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 20
Page 20

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 20

Many theatremen now insist on spaces not less than 34 or 36 inches between rows, despite the fact that such spacing may result in the loss of as many as 100 seats. Weighing comfort against capacity is a matter of economics which the individual theatreman must decide for himself.

Where the theatre has been designed with a full stage, it may prove advantageous to cut back the stage, leaving only the required area for speakers, screen, and a small stage setting, thereby gaining a minimum requirement of 22 feet from the first row of seats to the back stage wall.

Where this change has been decided upon, it will probably be necessary to replace most of the orchestra floor in order to create the best sight lines, because of the new location of the screen. In most instances, this will result in a reverse curve in the orchestra floor.

Floor Slope

The usual curve is the one that has the steepest inclination at the rear, gradually diminishing toward the stage. Another might be the reverse curve referred to above, with the lowest point about two-thirds of the distance between the first and last rows. It may also result in a curve in which the last row and the first row are at the same elevation, with the lowest- point somewhere near the center row.

Seating companies will supply seating standards for all gradations of the ordinary floor slopes required, both for direct and reverse slopes. Variation is made in the rear leg of the standard in order to retain the correct height of the seat edge regardless of the slope of the floor. It may be necessary to allow for the higher rate of rise at the last few rows by installing level platforms in front of the seats in these rows to provide a foot rest. Such platforms should be used when the difference in elevation between any two consecutive rows is more than three inches. It will then also be necessary to install a ramp from the plat form to meet the slope of the aisle.

The established elevation of the curb and sidewalk at the front entrance will primarily determine the elevation of the floor at the last row of seats. However, the last row level can be adjusted to a limited degree by ramping the floors in the. spaces between the sidewalk and the standee rail. Such ramps should not be overly steep. A ratio of one to 12 is the limit imposed by most building codes.

When proper elevation cannot be attained solely by the use of ramps, it may be necessary to raise the last two or three rows above the level of the aisles, using steps for entrance into the banks of seats. This plan is to be avoided unless there is no other resort, as steps always pose a safety hazard. Should it be necessary to adopt this plan, it is mandatory that the steps be Well lighted to prevent accidents.

If the theatre is located on a corner site with emergency exits on the side street, the fixed elevations of the curb and sidewalk at the exits will have to be met as nearly as possible by the curve of the orchestra floor. To accomplish this, it may be necessary to


use slight ramps and warps in the side aisles or cross aisles. In extreme cases, it may even be necessary to use steps at the exits, but again, this practice is to be avoided unless no other method can possibly be employed. Here is another instance where the local building code must be carefully checked before any change in construction is effected.

Where emergency exits lead into an exit court, the court level can be adjusted through the use of ramps to meet the level of the exit door sills. Exit courts should follow the general outside grade as closely as possible, not only because of reasons of economy in construction costs, but courts that are several feet below the natural outside grade become filled with snow and ice

---- In. remodeling the auditorium, the theatre owner will have to yield to the advice of the designer more than for any other location in the house. Since the auditorium is the principal room in the theatre as far as patrons are concerned, and the area in. which they spend the greatest portion of their time at the theatre, it should be furnished and decorated to provide the greatest amount of. comfort and pleasure possible. It has been proved that many persons will attend a theatre whose auditorium is comfortable and inviting more readily, even. though they consider the feature inferior, than a house featuring a better film in an uncomfortable auditorium.

Old-fashioned, rickety seating will have to be replaced by luxurious modern chairs; ancient flooring will have to be replaced; the old standard of 29-inch row spaces will have to be updated to 34-inch spaces between rows, even with possible loss of 100 seats; outmoded, gingerbread-trimmed boxes will have to be eliminated; shabby walls will have to be acoustically treated and tastefully decorated, and, perhaps, the ceiling will' have to be replaced.

Most theatre remodeling men invariably include new seating and new sight lines in the general rejuvenation of the auditorium on the theory that these factors will produce the greatest return on the investment of any single improvement that might be made in the entire remodeling project.

Following is a full outline of all that must be done to make the auditorium 11 better place to relax and in keeping with the latest technical advances. It is up to the showman himself to decide how much he can accomplish with the budget he has set up.

in the winter, making an obstacle in the passage and creating a safety hazard.

Another variable factor to be considered in determining the proper slope of the floor is the elevation of the bottom of the picture and the rise of the stage. The bottom of the picture should be from .18 to 24 inches above the stage, thus allowing for eye clearance and any necessary screen masking. Although the bottom of the picture can be at any height in relation to the rise of the door at the first row will be set at a distance of from five feet to five and a half feet below the bottom of the picture.

With an assumed elevation of the picture bottom, and the elevation of the

floor at the last row set relative to that, figure, the sight line from the picture bottom over the heads of persons in the third row can be determined, and, cone sequently, the elevation of the third row can be found.

This procedure is repeated, determining the sight line from the picture bottom over the third row heads, and meeting the eye line of the fifth row. The average elevation of the eye of a seated person is three feet, three inches, and the average distance from the eye to the top of the head is four and a half inches. The proper curve of the floor will be obtained by repeating this process of calculation for every second row until the level of the last row is ascertained.

When the curve is determined, should it fail to meet the fixed elevations, such as the side emergency exits and the rise of the standee foyer at the standee rail, the assumed elevation of the bottom of the picture will have to be raised or lowered accordingly, and the calculating process will have to be repeated until a curve results which best meets the requirements.

The floor curve also may be calculated by a reverse process, starting with the approximate required elevation of the last row, and figuring the line from the eye height of those seats over the head height of the second row in front, and continuing to the first row.

Installing New Floors

By installing a new floor, the opportunity to eliminate ancient heating pipes set under the floor often will be afforded. If the pipes were laid originally without any kind of protection, it will generally be discovered that advanced deterioration has developed over the years. If it is found necessary to replace these pipes in about the same position, a trench large enough for easy access should be dug to contain them. This trench has further use in re-circulating air in the auditorium, in conjunction with the air conditioning system. Furthermore, installation of a new floor offers the opportunity to lay conduit and wire for aisle lights to the location of the seat ends. New aisle lighting will have to be provided with any new seating plan.

To permit the drilling of clean holes for the expansion shields used to secure chair standards, the top two inches of the concrete floor in the seating area should be made of one part cement to one part sand, and two parts of fine grit. This topping mixture should be poured integrally with the rough slab, Slabbing should be the regular 2,500pound cement type, with temperature reinforcement both ways.

If the slab rests on earth, and is over areas that have recently been filled, the slab will have to be reinforced in order to be self-supporting over these areas. A well-compacted six-inch layer of cinders or gravel should be set in directly under the slab for drainage, unless the soil is sandy enough to provide nab ural drainage.


The normal number of seats permitted between aisles by most building

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 20