If the foregoing limitations are applied in the horizontal plane for any given proscenium opening, they will limit an area of maximum value as seating space which is approximately elliptical. It is interesting to note that this shape for an auditorium plan was pioneered by the late Joseph Urban who had little of the present diita to work with and may safely be assumed to have chosen the shape largely on esthetic grounds. A fan shape provides additional seating space el minimum sacrifice of sight lines, but nobody wants the seats in the extreme rear corners.
Occupants of all seals are visually related to the performance when the seats are oriented toward the stage This necessitates curving the rows of seats- The center of curvature is lo-
Thvutrea and Auditoriums, 2d ed copyright C t964 by Litton Educational Publishing Inc., by permission of Van Nostrnnd Reinhold Company cated on the center line of the auditorium approximately the depth of the house behind the proscenium. Budgetary limitations may dictate that seats be in straight rows to simplify construction; these rows can at least be related to the center of attention on stage by being placed on chords of the optimum row curvature.
To provide best visibility from any seat, no patron should sit exactly in front of any other
patron unless more than one row distant. This requirement makes it necessary to stagger seats. Staggering is accomplished by the nonuniform placement of seats of varying widths in succeeding rows. Unless the walls of the theatre are parallel (which is ncoustically hazardous), it is extremely unlikely that more than a very few rows can be made up of seats of uniform width. The lack of uniformity thereby introduced provides the means by which staggering can be accomplished. Seats are made with uniform standards and interchangeable backs and seats so that « wide variation of seat width is possible, a variation from seat to seat of an inch or two, cumulative enough to accomplish satisfactory stagger and make rows even, is not noticed by the patron Various seating companies have their own schemes and formulas for seal stagger, some of them potented. The client may ask u seating company for a seating plan and should examine it critically for (1) insufficient stagger in occasional areas of the house and (2) the introduction of seals narrower than the acceptable minimum,
Aisles are of questionable desirability except in the largest houses. They must, however, be employed in many localities becouse of building taws which make no provision for continuous-row or so-called continental seating in which all rows are widely spaced and serve as transverse aisles. Many a bad sight line has resulted from putting the maximum legal number of seats, usually 14, into each row in every section- Obviously, for purposes of seeing, radial aisles are best, with curved aisles only slightly less efficient. Aisles perpendicular to the curtain line often have the accidental result of making side section seats undesirable because people using the aisles interrupt the view toward the stage. The box office would
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Fia. 14 (a) The horizontal angle lo the center line at which objects onstage, upstage of the curtain 1 bear the intended relationship to other objects onstage and to the background is approximately 60 . The horizontal angle lo the projection screen at which distortion on the screen becomes substantial!V intolerable is 60 . fbl Based on the ebilrtv to recognize shapes and confirmed by sequential seat selection of unreserved seats, I be order of de suability of locations is: A, fronl cental, except when Ihe picture screen is close to the front row; 8, middle center; C, middle side; D, front side; I, rem center; F, rear side. lc| Audiences will not choose locations beyond a line approximately 100 1 to the curtain at the proscenium. The shaded areas contain undesirable seats.
Fig, IB The vertical angle above which ability to recognize lamiltar shapes falls eft very rapidly is 30 .
like a theatre with alt seats in the center sec* lion. A center aisle wastes the most desirable seating area in the theater end inevitably causes the objectionable condition of seats near the aisle being directly in front of each other. (Sue Fig. 17.)
There are many formulas used to determine the depth of the house, or more accurately, to determine the relationship between depth of house, width of house, and width of screen or proscenium. They vary considerably and are all empirically derived on the basis of existing theaters, with too little reference to whether such theaters ore good or riot. Typical are the fallowing: Optimum depth equals 4 times screen width. Maximum depth equals 6 times screen width. Depth equals 1.25 to 2,35 times vP»
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