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UNIT 2 Design of Auditorium Size, shape, sitting arrangement design criteria for speech and music, acoustical defects

in an auditorium, sound foci and dead spots, acoustical correction design and modification techniques.

Auditorium KEY POINTS: Most auditoria are designed to fulfil a number of purposes The object is to ensure a near 100% of usage Every member of the audience should he able to see and hear the whole performance Contents 1 Introduction 2 Seating 3 Auditorium design 4 Theatres 5 Studio theatres 6 Concert halls 7 Conference halls 8 Cinemas 9 Multi-purpose auditoria 10 Support facilities 11 Legislation

Auditorium 1. Introduction

Visual and aural limitations: (a) Plan: for a performer at centre stage B there is an arc Y beyond which visual and aural perceptions are impaired. However, for performers nearer the sides of the stage at A and C produce more restrictive curves X. (b) Section: Similarly, visual and aural limits in section also set an arc centred on the performer

2. Seating 2.1 Design of Auditorium Seat

2.2 Working Dimensions Auditorium Seat

Auditorium seating: definitions of terms and dimensional information (a) Plan. (b) Section

2.3 Supports

2.4 Other factors a) Acoustics b) Ventilation and Heating c) Upholstery

3. Design of Auditorium
3.1 Audience Requirement 3.2 Visual Limitations

It determines the maximum distance from platform or stage at which the audience is able to appreciate the performance and for the performers or speaker to command an audience. This distance varies according to function type and the scale of the performance: For drama it is essential to discern facial expression, and the maximum distance should be 20 m measured from the setting line of a proscenium stage or geometric centre of an open stage. For opera and musicals discerning facial expressions is less critical and the distance can be 30 m. For dance the audience needs to appreciate the whole body of dancers and facial expression: the distance should not exceed 20 m. For full symphonic concerts acoustic conditions predominate. For chamber concerts acoustic conditions also predominate but visual definition assists achieving an intimate setting. For conference speaker and lecturer there are two scales: discerning facial expression, restricted by 20 m; larger scale where facial expression is not regarded as critical. For slide, video, television and overhead projection visual limitations are determined by their respective technologies.

3.3 Aural limitations

This refers to the distances across which speech, singing and music can be clearly heard without the need for amplification, and beyond which they cannot. For drama, opera and classical music amplification is deprecated; but it is acceptable for variety and essential for rock music. For amplified sound the auditorium requires a dead acoustic with no reflected sound from the platform or stage and limited or no reverberation; loudspeakers are positioned to provide full and even coverage of the audience. The volume and quality of the unamplified sound is dependent on the volume, shape, size and internal finishes of the auditorium, and on its resultant reverberation time. It is therefore not possible to lay down limits as for visual appreciation. Even experts in acoustics find that their predictions are not always borne out in practice, although they should be consulted and their advice followed wherever possible.

3.4 Levels in the auditorium

With a single level only, the pitch of the rake requires particular attention to achieve a sense of enclosure. The Greek amphitheatre is the example. Seating capacity within aural and visual limitations can be increased by the addition of one or more balconies within the overall permissible volume of the auditorium. Similarly, boxes, side galleries and loges can be added to the side walls, especially in the case of the proscenium format.

3.5 Number of seats in a row

With traditional seating the maximum number is 22 if there are gangways at both ends of the row, and 11 for gangway at one end. Thus in all but the smallest auditorium the gangways divide the seating into blocks. Rows with more than 22 seats are permitted if the audience is not thereby imperilled. The term continental seating is used for rows of seats with an increased back-to-back dimension extending the width of the auditorium with exits at both ends. This arrangement is only appropriate to proscenium stages.

3.6 Row to Row Spacing

Spacing is controlled by the clearway between the leading edge of the seat (in an upright position, if tippable) and the rear of the back of the seat in front. For traditional seating the minimum clearway for people to pass along the row is 300 mm and this dimension increases with the number of seats in a row. For continental seating the clearway is not less than 400 mm and not more than 500 mm. Legislation also dictates the minimum row-to-row dimension at 760 mm: this is usually not adequate and the minimum should be 850 mm for traditional seating.

(a) Row to row dimension and clearway with fixed seating. (b) Row to row dimension and clearway with tipped-up seating

3.7 Gangways
As gangways are essential escape routes, their widths are determined by the number of seats served. The minimum is 1100 mm. They can be ramped up to 10%, but only 8.5% if likely to be used by people in wheelchairs. If the seating rake is steeper, gangways must have steps extending the full width and these must have consistent treads and risers in each run. This means that the row-to-row spacing and row rise should be compatible with a convenient gangway tread and riser; and this in turn means that the shallow curve produced by sightline calculations should be adjusted to a straight line.

3.7 Seating Geometry

3.8 Sightlines for a seated audience

P Lowest and nearest point of sight on the platform or stage for the audience to see clearly. HD Horizontal distance between the eyes of the seated members of the audience, which relates to the row spacing and can vary from 760 mm to 1150 mm and more. EH Average eye height at 1200 mm above the theoretical floor level: the actual eye point will depend on seat dimensions. E Distance from the centre of the eye to the top of the head, taken as 100 mm as a minimum dimension for the calculations of sightlines. For assurance that there is a clear view over the heads of those in the row in front this dimension should be a least 125 mm. D Front row of seats: the distance from point P to the edge of the average member of the audience in the front row.

Sightlines at transverse gangway; the angle of the rake line is constant

Horizontal sightlines of the performer

The angle of horizontal vision for a stationary head is 40

The maximum comfortable amount the head can be turned from the seat centreline is 30.

4 Means of escape
Travel distance The maximum travel distance from seat to exit within the auditorium is determined by the need to evacuate from each level of the auditorium within 2 minutes. For traditional seating the maximum travel distance is 18 m measured from the gangway, for continental seating 15 m from any seat. Exits From each level of the auditorium two separate exits must be provided for the first 500 seats with an additional exit for each further 250 seats. Below table gives the minimum total of exit widths required by legislation. Each exit from the auditorium must lead directly to a place of safety.

Exit routes The route must be a consistent width the same as the exit. There must be no bottlenecks and all doors within the route must open in the direction of escape. Routes within the building should have fire-resistant enclosures. There are special requirements for all doors opening onto fire escape routes. Stairs Staircase flights should have at least two risers and not more than 16. All treads should be 275 mm and risers 180 mm. Ramps Wheelchair users should be provided with flat or ramped escape routes which may be separate from other routes. Ramps should not be longer than 4.5 m or steeper than 8.5%.

Relationship diagrams for buildings for opera, musicals, dance and drama. If for drama only, the orchestra pit and musicians spaces may not be required: Where the building serves only touring companies or with a resident company whose production facilities are elsewhere.

Where production facilities are needed

5.1 proscenium stage

Vertical sightlines for proscenium stage.

Vertical sightlines for open stage Auditorium formats for drama on open stages: a End stage. b Fan shape, 90 arc with or without rear balcony. c Thrust stage, 180 + arc, with or without rear balcony. d Theatre-in-the-round. e Transverse: audience on sides of stage

6 Factors to be considered in the acoustical design of an auditorium

1. Area and Volume Area= 0.60 Sq. M to 0.90 Sq. M Volume Cinemas or theatres Musical Halls and Concert halls Public Lecture halls 2. Shape = 4.0 Cu. M. to 5.0 Cu. M. = 4.0 Cu. M. to 5.5 Cu. M = 3.5 Cu. M. to 4.5 Cu. M

3. Sound Absorption 4. Site Selection 5 Seats and Seating Arrangement Arrangement Back to back distance Balcony Balcony Seats Covering of Seats Front Most Row Raising of Seats Width of Seats

7 Constructional and planning measures for good acoustical design of auditorium

Seeing and hearing have to be satisfied. Sight lines from every seating position to the entire stage will show whether the seats are properly located or not. Proper elevation of rows of seats and their staggering will ensure good visibility. To appreciate facial expressions beyond 20m is difficult. About 0.6 to 0.8 sq. m/ seat and 4 to 5 cum / person would be reasonable. Fan-shape or rectangular shape are common. A reflection reflective canopy over the stage, to direct sounds to rear areas is a must. Changing slopes of ceiling also help in the passage of sound to distinct areas. Avoid parallel walls. Use of Splayed sound reflective surfaces behind the sound sources. Note the purpose, number of seats (assuming 80% occupancy) location of stage, side corridors, positions of doors and windows. Rear portions be treated with absorbents to avoid echoes at the height of about 2.5m so that audience may not be tempted to disturb it.

8 Defects in an auditorium and their Remedies

9 Dos and Dont for good acoustical design of auditorium

Take care of 1. Dead-Spots when the sound level is low. 2. Echoes from concave surfaces. 3. Whisper when sound source is close to a long curved surface and sound goes tangential along the wall. 4. Flutter when sound-source and listeners, both are between a pair of hard surfaces. 5. In Auditoria, surfaces required to disperse sound reflection of 50cm. This is to avoid echoes and provide diffuse reverberation. 6. Flutter echo can also occur between two non-parallel surfaces if the sound source, S is located between them. 7. Noises both internal and external likely to be created are to be considered at the design stage itself. 8. Sound recorded on films should not be modified in the hall. For this the RT be kept 1 sec. by proper absorbent treatment.

9. Traffic side be located by thick plantation and absorbent corridors. 10. Rehearsal rooms and mechanical equipment rooms should not be under the stage. Occupancy above the auditorium should be avoided. Avoid sliding doors. Use gasket doors. Corridors and Lobbies be treated with sufficient absorbents. 11. If the auditorium is expected to be multipurpose, as for lectures, dramas, orchestras, gettogether, marriage parties etc. full frequency response sound system is to be employed. 12. Upholstered and elevated seats with good sight lines be arranged to minimize the distance from the performance area. 13. Central 80% area of the ceiling be kept reflective and remaining 20% along the perimeter are kept absorptive. 14. Side walls be kept reflective and diffusive with many irregularities. Rear wall should have deep absorptive finish. Floor (In front of the stage) be carpeted to control Foot Fall Noise. 15. Fabric seats (not leather) with perforated seat pans provide stable RT when auditorium is partially occupied. 16. Avoid Vaults and Domes. Back ground noise be controlled by proper masking. Mechanical systems noise by absorbent covers and duct born noise by internal duct lining absorbents.

17. Sound reinforcing system is needed when the number of seats is more than 200. In that case, a central system, just above and in front of the stage opening with line of sight of all seats are preferred . 18. In large auditorium and larger occupancy, shallow balcony (depth less than twice the opening height) with its front face treated with absorbents is desirable. 19. Electrical control-room, if needed, should be at the rear and the operator should be able to see the happenings on the stage, hear the control sound. 20. Provision for hanging reflectors and absorbents is needed to provide variable RT for films, dances, speeches, etc. Flat floor is necessary for variable occupancy, games, parties, exhibitions etc.

Partha Sarathi Mishra Asst. Professor School of Architecture GITAM University