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Modern Theatre Construction | by Edward Bernard Kinsila



In the preparation of this volume on "Modern Theatre Construction" no claim is made that this is a wholly original work. The book is more a compilation of the best obtainable data on the subject, interspersed with original ideas. Nor has any attempt been made to produce a technical treatise on the subject. This is rather a hand-book of practical suggestions intended primarily for the general reader, which may serve as a guide and reference for prospective owners, managers, architects or builders in search of reliable information on this type of structure.

TitleModern Theatre Construction
AuthorEdward Bernard Kinsila
PublisherChalmers Publishing Company
Year1917
Copyright1917, Chalmers Publishing Company
AmazonModern Theatre Construction
-Preface
In the preparation of this volume on Modern Theatre Construction no claim is made that this is a wholly original work. The book is more a compilation of the best obtainable data on the subject, inte...
-Chapter 1. A Brief History Of The Theatre
SINCE the inception of theatres their mode of construction has undergone a gradual formative evolution, invariably influenced by the everchanging uses for which these edifices have been intended. The ...
-The Roman Theatre
Centuries later, in the Roman era, the theatre came to be inclosed within boundary walls, but still without a roof. It had changed its form, and was now built more ornately and upon level ground. The ...
-Theatres Of Middle Ages
The early days of mediaeval Europe witnessed the introduction of liturgical drama and miracle plays, founded on events chronicled in the New and Old Testaments. In England, as in France, the church be...
-Theatres Of Modern Times
The early theatres of a later period catered wholly to the cultured classes without regard to the masses. These were Court theatres, maintained at the expense of the various sovereigns, and National a...
-American Theatres
There is very little recorded history of either the American drama or theatre before the Revolutionary period. Androboros, written by Governor Hunter in 1714, is the single notable exception. Certai...
-Chapter II. Controlling Elements
IT has been demonstrated in the preceding chapter that certain elements have governed the theatre in the evolution of its conformation. Many of the same elements that control it as an institution also...
-Controlling Elements. Continued
The Mercenary Manager The American manager is too intent on immediate profits and too much afflicted with blind commercialism. He knows too well the tricks of the trade and has little or no conceptio...
-Influence Of Open-Air Theatres
Beneficial Influence Of Open-Air Theatres The open-air theatre is one of the most promising influences in the dramatic world today. It is a truly democratic institution that brings together great num...
-Chapter III. Site Selection
THE first and one of the most important essentials in the erection of a theatre is the selection of its site, which must be large enough to encompass the proposed scheme in its entirety. For architect...
-Chapter IV. Designing And Planning. General Arrangement
FOR the reasons before stated, the designing and planning of theatres in this country have not exhibited the same general progress as have the designing and planning of other types of buildings. Few t...
-Designing And Planning. General Arrangement. Continued
A Helpful Advisory Board In designing theatres they should be adequately adapted to distinctive productions. So long as the present competition and strife between theatrical syndicates and managers p...
-Designing And Planning. Auditorium
Proportions Of The Theatre The design of the auditorium is a prime consideration in theatre planning. Its formation and decoration should tend to focus attention upon the scene pictured on the stage....
-Designing And Planning. Auditorium. Continued
With the incline of the main floor established, experimental sectional lines to determine the balcony slope and the various sight lines should be drawn on the section of the plans, as follows: From a...
-Communication
The communication of a theatre has reference to the vestibule, foyer, aisles, exits and stairways that intercommunicate between the various sections of the playhouse. Vestibule The first section of ...
-Chapter V. The Stage Section
German Ingenuity SPECIAL interest has been taken in the development and equipment of the German stage. Yielding to the influence of art, Teutonic ingenuity is continually devising new mechanisms and ...
-Existing American Stages
Reduced Stage Aprons The American stage floor is raised about 3 feet 9 inches above the front section of the auditorium floor, so as to fix the stage level just below the eyes of the people seated in...
-Scenery
Tormentors And Grand Draperies Disadvantageous The scenic equipment for the usual American theatre is given in the tabulated list that follows. Excluded from this list are the front pieces usually t...
-Chapter VI. Lighting
Concealed Indirect Lighting A HIGH standard of excellence has been reached in theatre lighting throughout the world, but German progress in this field has been equal to Teutonic proficiency in other ...
-Stage Lighting
Location Of Switchboard Great advancement has also been made in the methods and principles of stage lighting. Even the location of the operator regulating the stage lighting has been changed in the a...
-National Board Of Fire Underwriters Electric Code
All wiring, apparatus, etc., not specifically covered by special rules herein given must conform to the standard rules and requirements of the National Electrical Code, and the term Theatre shall me...
-National Board Of Fire Underwriters Electric Code. Continued
5. Switch on standard must be so constructed that accidental contact with any live portion of same will be impossible. 6. All stranded connections in lamp and at switch and rheostats must be provided...
-Chapter VII. Motion Picture Theatres
THE most recently developed phase of the theatres is the photoplayhouse, devoted to the silent drama. Enthusiasts claim that the daily attendance at these theatres is ten millions of people. Sceptics ...
-Motion Picture Theatres. Continued
Interior Decoration The decoration of the motion picture auditorium may be more ornamental than that of an ordinary theatre, the better to satisfy a more general taste. The exposed front and entrance...
-Ground Floor Theatres
Legal requirements, as well as site limitations, often radically affect the plan of a photoplay-house. Several states prohibit balconies in motion picture theatres. In such states, of course, the audi...
-The Screen
The screen and its position are controlling factors in the planning of a motion picture theatre. Since the screen is the focal point for the audience, the general design and decoration of the interior...
-The Projection Room
The proper location of the projection room is also a serious question in designing a motion picture theatre, a factor of greater importance than is generally imagined. Yielding to a tendency to imitat...
-The Projection Room. Continued
Vent Flue Necessary The vent flue of the projection room should be ample and lead direct to the open. It should be placed immediately above the machine, so as to carry off at once any fumes or smoke ...
-Chapter VIII. Safety
General Arrangement THE general arrangement of a theatre must conform to a design which will in every detail provide for the safety of the audience. Safety should have at all times a predominance ove...
-Safety. Continued
An asbestos curtain, because of its weight, must have to hold it unusually firm fastenings and brackets securely bolted to the proscenium wall, and the cables holding the curtain should run first over...
-Exits
Safety Of Audience Although the auditorium is less liable to fire, the safety of the audience, nevertheless, is of supreme importance. The first problem to be considered in this connection is that of...
-Exits. Continued
Fire Escapes The open grille type of fire escape, which also was provided to satisfy a whimsical requirement of the law, is a frightful source of danger rather than an aid to escape. Timid people bal...
-Sprinkler System
Patented Sprinkler System Some adequate provision should be made to deluge the stage with water in case of an outbreak of fire in that section. Should fire occur in the dressing or other rooms, chemi...
-Chapter IX. Comfort
MUCH of the comfort of a theatre is dependent upon the management. Since amusement is largely a psychological problem, neither the line read on the stage nor the scene there depicted is of primary imp...
-Seating
Widened Passage Space It is in the matter of comfortable seating that American theatres are most deficient. England, though lacking in aisle space, offers the most comfortable seating in the world be...
-Chapter X. Heating And Ventilation
THESE two subjects are so inter-related and so dependent one upon the other that it is, difficult to disassociate them. Perfection in both substantially adds to the comfort of those attending the thea...
-Chimneys
Chimney The Lungs Of Building A necessary adjunct to the boiler will be the chimney, which is required for two purposes: to produce the necessary draught for the proper combustion of fuel and to furn...
-Fuel. Fuel Values
The value of fuel is estimated by the number of heat units generated by its combustion. The fuels generally used in heating are composed of carbon, hydrogen and ash, with sometimes small quantities of...
-Ventilation
Motion And Coolness Necessary Ventilation as applied to a theatre is the process of supplying an adequate amount of fresh air, warmed or cooled to a proper temperature, in such a manner that the air ...
-Ventilation. Continued
The Plenum System However, the best system for heating and ventilating a theatre is the one termed the plenum or forced-draught system, where the air is taken from the outside into an isolated chambe...
-Chapter XI. Acoustics
FROM the early Greek days down to a comparatively recent time the problem of theatre acoustics has been a perplexing one. Whether or not the Greeks were familiar with the theory and laws of acoustics ...
-Acoustics. Continued
Little Theatre Specially Designed For Good Acoustics The Little Theatre in New York City, with an auditorium forty-eight feet long and forty-nine feet wide, and with a ceiling twenty-eight feet high ...
-Chapter XII. Construction. The Steel Work
THE correct construction of a theatre is a subject for serious reflection. Safety being the chief essential, only reliable fire-resisting materials should be employed. As the additional cost of constr...
-The Steel Work. Continued
Substitute For Plentitude Of Steel In the present condition of the market, with the price of steel more than doubled because of the universal engagement of American steel plants in the manufacture of...
-Foundation
The contract for the foundations, all concreting, construction of walls, floors, roof, and all plastering, should be given to a mason builder on the same quantity basis. The foundations are the most...
-Exterior Walls
The best known and cheapest fireproof material for outer walls is some form of hollow building tile sufficiently heavy to withstand water shock from a high pressure fire hose. This building tile is ma...
-Floors
Good floors may be laid in concrete slabs between steel framing by any of the standard methods, or by pouring liquid gypsum over squares of wire mesh. In each instance they must be top-finished with a...
-Chapter XIII. Examples Of Theatre Architecture. Existing And Suggested Models. New York Hippodrome
THIS chapter will be devoted to the descriptions of the interiors of three existing theatres and of three original models of various types, any and all of which may be adapted for the presentation of ...
-Original Model Suggested For A Grand Central Theatre
The second theatre to be described is an original model of a large theatre, similar in size to the Hippodrome just described, and intended for the spectacular display of motion pictures. The combinati...
-The Scala Theatre, London
The third will be a brief description of the interior of an existing but rarely used theatre, The Scala of London. This is recognized as the most beautiful theatre in England, and at the time of it...
-The Scala Theatre, London. Continued
Patrons In A Psychologic Dream Before Mrs. Pleasanton can voice her approval the curtain is up and their interest is shifted to the stage. Everything is metamorphosed into what seems to be the temple...
-Original Model With A Reversed Auditorium
The next form of theatre to be presented is of an original interior design. It is of the same size and general character as the one just described, except that its audience-hall is half a story higher...
-The Little Theatre, New York
The next illustrative description will be that of the Little Theatre, New York, erected by Winthrop Ames of Boston, a wealthy disciple of the advanced theatre movement. This house, modeled on the plan...
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix
An appendix reciting a few of the most necessary regulations may prove of service to the reader. These will include valuable extracts from the electric code of the National Board of Fire Underwriters....
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix. Part 2
Occupancy Restricted No portion of any building hereafter erected or altered, used or intended to be used as a theatre, opera house, or motion picture show, shall be occupied or used for any business...
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix. Part 3
Exits - Minimum, And Fire Doors For From the auditorium at least two exits remote from each other leading into open courts or streets shall be provided in each of both side walls of the auditorium on...
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix. Part 4
Exit Stairs And Balconies Exit stairs from each gallery shall be placed in smokeproof and fireproof towers, or in lieu thereof, an approved form of open air stairway may be used. The minimum width of...
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix. Part 5
Entrances In Courts If entrances open on emergency courts or corridors the said courts or corridors must be increased in width an amount at least equal to the width of the entrances which they serv...
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix. Part 6
Counterweights Where counterweights are used they shall be suspended at the extreme side or other walls of the stage section, and be inclosed by guards. Other Openings In Proscenium Wall Openings b...
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix. Part 7
Dressing Rooms - Trim All shelving and cupboards in every dressing room, property room or other storage rooms, shall be of incombustible material. Heating Apparatus - Location Steam boilers shall b...
-Most Necessary Regulations Appendix. Part 8
Standpipes Standpipes shall be provided not less than 4 inches in diameter of wrought iron or galvanized steel, with hose connections, located as follows: One on each side of the stage on each tier, ...
-Borough Of Manhattan. Article 24. Motion Picture Theatres
(In Effect March 30, 1915.) Section 500 Plans. 501 Restrictions. 502 Construction. 503 Means of Egress. 504 Booth for Projecting-Machine and Film; 505 Application to Existing Theatres. 506 Open...
-Borough Of Manhattan. Motion Picture Theatres. Continued
5. Fire Escapes Galleries must also be provided with at least one line of fire escapes, leading to an open court, fireproof passage or street without re-entering the same or any other building. If th...
-Article 25. Theatres And Other Places Of Amusement
(In Effect March 30, 1915.) Section 520 Application of Article. 521 Buildings Must be Approved. 522 Auditorium Walls. 523 Dressing Rooms. 524 Fire-extinguishing Appliances. 525 Heating Plant. 5...
-Theatres And Other Places Of Amusement. Part 2
2. Corridors And Passageways All gas or electric lights in the halls, corridors, lobby or any other part of said buildings used by the audience, except the auditorium, must be controlled by a separat...
-Theatres And Other Places Of Amusement. Part 3
6. Gradients Gradients or inclined planes shall be employed instead of steps where possible to overcome slight difference of level in or between aisles, corridors and passages. To overcome any differ...
-Theatres And Other Places Of Amusement. Part 4
13. Diagram Of Exits A diagram or plan of each tier, gallery or floor, showing distinctly the exits therefrom, each occupying a space not less than 15 square inches, shall be printed in black lines i...
-Theatres And Other Places Of Amusement. Part 5
534. Miscellaneous Requirements 1. Ceilings The ceiling under each gallery shall be entirely formed of fireproof materials. The ceiling of the auditorium shall be formed of fireproof materials. 2. ...
-City Of Boston. Theatres
Definition. Sect. 77 Every building hereafter erected so as to contain an audience hall and a stage, with curtain, movable or shifting scenery and machinery, adapted for the giving of plays, operas, ...
-City Of Boston. Theatres. Part 2
Aisles. Sect. 88 All aisles on the respective floors in the auditorium, having seats on both sides of the same, shall be not less than 30 inches wide where they begin and shall be increased in width ...
-City Of Boston. Theatres. Part 3
Stairs. Sect. 100 The cut of the stair stringers shall not exceed 7 1/2 inches rise, nor be less than 10 1/2 inches tread. There shall be no flights of stairs of more than 15 or less than three steps...
-City Of Boston. Theatres. Part 4
Moving Picture Shows. Sect. 106 All moving picture shows shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 176 and of chapter 437 of the acts of the year 1905, and of any amendments thereof or additions ...







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