Riviera Theatre : the rehabilitation of an art deco cinema theatre


Material Information

Riviera Theatre : the rehabilitation of an art deco cinema theatre
Physical Description:
159p. : elevations, plans, pls., section, tables.
Klingberg, Barbara A.
Barbara A. Klingberg
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
Publication Date:


32.780647 x -79.933388


General Note:
General Note:
AFA HP document 453

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:

Full Text














The author would like to express her gratitude to the following

persons for their assistance during the writing of this thesis:

Professor Bertram Y. Kinzey, her committee chairman, for his constant

assistance and advice; Professor Phillip Wisley and Dr. Richard Green,

the other members of her committee; Mr. George Meyers of Pastime

Amusement Company; and Mr. Charles C. Benton, Jr., Professor F. Blair

Reeves, who kept it all in perspective; her parents, Cdr. and Mrs.

F. N. Klingberg, for their presence; her sister, Mrs. Marta Wert, for

holding the other end of the tape; the members of her studio, who made

the long nights bearable, and Mr. Arnold Agree, for getting her into

this mess in the first place.









Selection of the Riviera Theatre .
History of the Riviera Theatre .
Physical Description .
Condition of the Structure .
Code Problems . .
Acoustical Characteristics .
Visual Considerations .


Preliminary Programming Decisions
Schematic Design . .
Final Programming for the Theatre
Final Program for the Cinema .


Air-Conditioning Systems .
The Lobby and Circulation Systems
The Lounge and Bar .
The Theatre . .
The Stage and Backstage Spaces .
The Production Offices .
The Cinema . .




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Table Page

1 Reverberation Time for the Riviera Theatre
Calculated as One Volume . . 35

2 Reverberation Time for the Riviera Theatre Orchestra
Calculated as a Composite or Coupled Space 37

3 Production Space, Recommended Square Footage 48

4 Designed Reverberation Time for the Theatre . 81

5 Designed Reverberation Time for the Cinema . 94

6 Structural Heat Gain Calculation for the Theatre 143

7 Total Cooling Load for the Theatre . 146

8 Structural Heat Gain for the Cinema . 148

9 Total Cooling Load for the Cinema . 149

10 Selection of Aid-Handling Units for the Theatre, Cinema, 151
Lobby and Office . . .

11 Preliminary Duct Sizing for the Theatre . 153

12 Preliminary Duct Sizing for the Cinema . 154







Section of a Typical Movie Palace . .

Section of a Typical Cinema . .

Auditorium and Stage of the Academy of Music .

The Riviera Theatre on the Corner of King and Market
Street . . .

5 Cast-Stone Detail . .

6 East Elevation, King Street .

7 South Elevation, Market Street .

8 Lobby, Transverse Section .

9 Lobby Detail, Plaster Mirror Frame .

10 Lobby Detail, Plaster Cornice .

11 The Lobby from the Balcony .

12 Auditorium, Longitudinal Section .

13 Auditorium, Balcony Front .

14 Celotex Panels on the South Wall of the

15 Celotex Panels on the North Wall of the

16 Celotex Panels on the South Wall of the

17 Celotex Panels on the North Wall of the

18 Detail of Celotex Panel .

19 Detail of Painted Plaster Panels .

20 Pilaster Capital in the Orchestra .

21 Balcony from the Stage .

22 The Stage from the Rear of the Balcony



Balcony .

Balcony .
Balcony .


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Orchestra Seats by American Seating . .

Discarded Proscenium Mask . .

The Original (35mm) and Existing (70mm) Screens as
seen from Critical Points in the Auditorium .

Schematic Design Solutions . .

Balcony Front Showing the Implied Division of the House
into Two Distinct Spaces . .

The Rear Building as it was Built . .

Renovated Facade of the Rear Building . .

Audience Flow Chart, Theatre and Cinema Entrances on
King Street . . .

Audience Flow Chart, Cinema Entrance on Market Street .

Ticket Booth . . .

The Lobby and Foyer . . .

Existing and Ideal Seating Profiles of the Orchestra .

35 Actors' Flow Chart














. . . 58

36 Space Requirements of the Costume Shop . 64

37 Space Requirements of the Scene Shop . 64

38 Schematic Mechanical Distribution . 69

39 New Structure to Support the Mechanical Equipment 69

40 Lobby Plan . . . 72

41 Lobby Perspective . . 73

42 Lounge Perspective . . 73

43 Theatre Plan . . 75

44 Theatre Perspective . . 76

45 Projection Booth . . 77

46 Comparison of Ideal and Final Seating Profiles for the 79
Orchestra . . .

47 Alternate Seating Plan for the Orchestra .

48 Development of Ceiling Planes by Geometric
Acoustics . . .

49 Absorbtion and Reflection of High and Low Frequency
Sound . . .

50 Scene Shop Plan . . .

51 Costume Shop and Dressing Rooms Plan .

52 New Facade for the Shop Building . .

53 Cinema Plan . . .

54 Cinema Perspective . . .

55 Architect's Rendering (no date) . .

56 Steel Structure Under Construction, Nov. 2, 1937,
No. 1 . . .

57 Steel Structure Under Construction, Nov. 2, 1937,
No. 2 . . .

58 Steel Structure With Bar Joists in Place, Dec. 1,
1937 . . .

59 Market Street Elevation Under Construction, Mar. 5,
1938 . . .

60 Facade and Marquee Under Construction, May 5, 1938 .

61 Riviera Theatre Under Construction, Apr. 6, 1938 .

62 Riviera Theatre After Completion, Before 1942
(no date) . . .

63 Riviera Theatre, Jan. 5, 1942 . .

64. Schematic Layout of Duct to the Theatre .

65. Schematic Layout of Ducts to the Cinema .


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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Architecture



Barbara Allyson Klingberg

April, 1983

Chairman: Professor Bertram Y. Kinzey, Jr.
Major Department: Architecture

Due to changes in screening techniques, theatre attendance, comfort

standards, and urban demography, the numerous "super cinemas," designed

for sound films in the late twenties and thirties, have become func-

tionally obsolete. The large empty structures located in most urban

areas are, however, significant architectural statements. Simpler than

their predecessors, the cinemas frequently have elegant art-deco details

integrated with a clear structure, derived from the functionalism of the

budding modern movement. While the movie palaces were being renovated

for concert halls, the cinemas have been chopped into offices, or con-

verted into bowling alleys.

This thesis explored an alternative solution involving the division

of the auditorium into two smaller theatres, one for film and the other

for legitimate theatre. The theatre program allowed the investigation of

the techniques for modification of the acoustical performance of the hall.

The distinctive decoration of the Riviera provided constraints to the

ideal theatre program forcing the utilization of compromise to arrive at

an acceptable solution. The limited scale of the project allowed resolu-

tion in detail to problems of acoustics, layout of mechanical systems,

stage lighting and control, modification of seating profiles, and pro-

visions for ancillary support spaces.

The major design problem involved the division of the auditorium at

the balcony front utilizing a new sound and projection booth as a barrier.

The relocation of mechanical systems on the roof, necessitating an iso-

lated structure for vibration control, had to be coordinated with the

structure of the booth. Considerations in the lobby areas involved

alterations for code requirements including the expansion of restroom

facilities, reorganization of traffic flow and introduction of an ele-

vator. Production areas were provided in an existing building behind

the theatre.

Although satisfied with the resolution of the divided house, I was

forced to conclude that the stage house was indeed minimal. Without fly

or wing space, set changes could be provided for only the use of a

revolve, resulting in a limited acting area. Rehearsal, production and

storage space were minimal. It would be hard to justify extensive

renovation of a facility which could not provide adequate space for

flexible staging.

The solution to the division of the auditorium could easily be

utilized in a modified program for two cinema theatres. This would

eliminate the need for additional stage area and support space as well

as the need for modification of the ceiling plane. The major conclusion

was, then, that the auditorium could be divided into two separate spaces

without significantly damaging the character of the decoration. The

division necessitated other alterations that might limit the feasibility

of the project.

., %


Recently, it seems as if every issue of Preservation News, the

newspaper of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, reports the

impending destruction of yet another early 20th century picture palace.

Citing economic necessity, and over the protests of preservationists

and movie buffs, owners and developers feel compelled to demolish the

spectacular but sadly underused structures. For all their gilt grandeur

and painted plaster illusion, the picture palaces in their original

states are frequently functional white elephants. They are too large

for modern cinema presentations and without adequate facilities for

significant stage productions. Their audiences have moved to the

suburbs and have been spoiled by the climate-controlled convenience

of the shopping center cinema.

It is important at this time to distinguish between the two types

of motion picture houses being threatened, for they pose very different

problems for the preservationist. The picture houses built by noted

architects such as John Eberson, Thomas Lamb and S. L. Rothafel in the

first decades of the century before the advent of the "talkies," are

those that receive the most attention because of their spectacularly

ornate interiors. Because of this grandeur, it is often easy to

generate public support for their preservation using such tools as

landmark status designation to prevent demolition. The second type,

developed specifically for the cinema in the 1930's, is the modern

functional theatre, frequently overlooked by the public but equally


meriting attention as an historic structure. In many cities, these

theatres are the best examples of art deco or art moderne architecture

available. It is the later type of cinema which will be examined in

this thesis, an exploration of a practical solution to the problem of

functional obsolesence in an historic structure.

The earlier theatres are of two types, those designed to accommo-

date an accompanying stage show, the "presentation theatre," and those

designed solely for film, the "movie palace." The latter term is more

often used for both. Both have exceedingly large (2000-4000 seat)

auditoriums, expansive balconies and grand multilevel lobbies and

lounges. The small stage of the movie palace is usually too small to

use for performances although dressing rooms and backstage areas may

adjoin them. The presentation house has a small to medium stage, with

and without flyspace and wings, and minimal support facilities. Pro-

duction space sacrificed for increased seating capacity has severely

limited the capabilities of the large presentation theatre. While the

stage house is adequate, the auditorium is far too deep for modern

legitimate drama which is dependent on the subtlety of the actor's

expression. This depth restricts productions to those with broad

movement distinguishable at a distance. These shows, large scale

musicals, Broadway touring companies, operetta and dance, are limited

by the insufficient stage. The economically successful preservation

of presentation theatres and movie palaces is largely dependent on the

ability to create a new stagehouse or expand an existing one to

accommodate large productions which will draw capacity audiences.

As a movie theatre, the presentation houses and movie palaces

were far from ideal. During the silent film era, the rough presenta-

tion of the feature film was tolerated as part of the evening's


entertainment, supported by the latest jazz tunes on the "Mighty

Wurlitzer" slapstick comedy and other diversions. With the advent

of the "talkies" in 1927, films demanded to be heard as well as seen.

It became evident that the longer reverberation time of the acousti-

cally live presentation theatre interfered with the amplified sound-

track. The development of the motion picture house in the 1930's as

a distinct architectural type, utilized advances in the science of

acoustics to produce what was essentially a muffled box into which

amplified sound was projected.1 The use of acoustical materials as

surface treatment altered drastically the decorative quality of the

auditorium. The concepts of functionalism in modern architecture

provided a design directive for the new theatres. The size of the

auditorium was reduced somewhat, however most cinemas still seated

from 1000 to 2000 persons.

The new theatres were filled to capacity during the depression.

Many more were built in the late thirties and early forties as the

economy began its upswing. Attendance continued to be strong after

WW II, but soon thereafter developments in the film industry as well

as social trends conspired to decrease the popularity of the older

theatres. Cinemascope, Cinemiracle and other wide screen techniques

introduced in the fifties necessitated changes in existing theatres,

hurried alterations now always sensitively executed. Theatres built

especially for the wide screen pulled audiences away from the outdated


1Dennis Sharp, The Picture Palace and Other Buildings for the
Movies (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), p. 102.

Section of a typical movie palace.

Section of a typical cinema.

Figure 1 .

Figure 2.

Suburbanization and the resulting urban decay combined with the

construction of shopping mall theatres closer to residential areas have

left the downtown theatre in an increasingly hostile environment without

an audience. Trends toward decreased attendance levels have increased

competition with small multiscreen theatres capable of entertaining a

broader section of public taste. Additional competition from video and

cable television screening of first run films make it increasingly

difficult to fill even a moderate size house. Finally, advances in air

conditioning systems have raised the standards of comfort of the theatre-

goer so that he is less tolerant of the climactic vagaries of the older

theatres with their outdated mechanical systems.

The cinema theatres of the 1930's no longer function competitively

in the marketplace. Although there are trends toward urban revitaliza-

tion in many cities, an influx of downtown residents alone would not be

sufficient to generate capacity audiences in a theatre that has func-

tional deficiencies. With reduced audiences unable to cover operating

expenses, the owner of the theatre in an urban location will easily

feel the pressure to realize the highest and best use of his property,

often resulting in the demolition of the existing structure.



The exploration of the issue of rehabilitation of an art deco

cinema theatre provides opportunities to investigate other design

issues. The first is the problem of adaptive design within a large

space where architecturally significant details prohibit a "gut and

modern infill" approach. The next is the persuance of a project into

the design development phase, facing and dealing with the specific

problems of fitting programatic requirements into an existing struc-

ture. The last is the issue of programming and design for the theatre

within an historic structure. All of these issues involve the idea of

compromise between the ideal solutions and the physical capabilities

of the existing building. Final solutions could not be expected to be

perfect but should satisfy the critical issues of practicality, function

and design sensitivity.

Selection of the Riviera Theatre

The Riviera Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina was chosen for

this study for several reasons. The 1939 art deco structure is an

excellent example of an "acoustical box."1 The long rectangular audi-

torium with one balcony has side walls treated with panels or Celotex

acoustical tile, each painted with a different bird or butterfly design.

Dennis Sharp, The Picture Palace and Other Buildings for the
Movies (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), p. 102.


The decoration of the interior is extensive enough to justify preserva-

tion without being so assertive as not to accept compatible design. The

auditorium was altered in the 1950's to accommodate a wider screen; the

proscenium and a portion of the side walls are neither original or

distinctive. There is an opportunity for new design in that area. The

additional property behind the theatre belonging to the same owner pro-

vides space either for new construction or adaptive use for production

functions. Lastly, the accessibility of the building during the thesis

research period allowed for easy study of the structure.

The one significant deterrent to using the Riviera was the lack of

existing drawings. Both the architect's and the owner's copies of the

construction drawings have been lost. As a result, it was necessary to

document the building before new design could be developed. Fortunately,

the architect's son, Mr. Charles Benton, Jr., was able to provide photo-

graphs of the building during and after construction, including three

invaluable photographs of the steel frame at different phases of con-

struction.2 Without these, it would have been impossible to locate

steel sections which would have impeded new construction. The documen-

tation of the Riviera is represented by the first four sheets of

presentation drawings in Appendix A.

2Copies of the photographs provided by Mr. Benton are located in
Appendix B to the text.


History of the Riviera Theatre

The Riviera Theatre was built in 1938 on the site of the Academy

of Music at King and Market Streets.3 The Academy of Music was itself

one of the first adaptive use projects in Charleston. The Italianate

edifice, built in 1836 as a drygoods store, the Kerrison Department

Store, was transformed into a theatre in 1869 by John Henry Devereau,

Charleston's best known late 19th century architect. An "opera house,"

the theatre provided presentation space for touring notables such as

Sarah Barnhardt, Lillian Russell, Carlotta Patti, Ole Bull, Edwin Booth

and the D'Oyley-Carte Opera Company. The building was remodeled several

times in the late 1800's including in 1895 when plush seats were brought

in from Niblo's Garden, a posh New York resort theatre. Figures 3a and 3b

show the interior of the Academy before the 1895 remodeling.

By the twenties, the Academy was considered too small for most

theatrical presentations. The popularity of the large entertainment

palaces was firmly established in Charleston with the Victory, Gloria

and other large theatres. The small horseshoe auditorium of the Academy

of Music was hopelessly out of date. The building was purchased in 1921

by Albert Sotille of Pastime Amusement Company, vaudeville producers

until they gained control of the Charleston movie theatre monopoly.

Charles C. Benton and Sons, theatre architects from Wilson, North
Carolina, with David B. Hyer of Charleston, were hired by Mr. Sotille

3The history of the Riviera was compiled from newspaper articles
included as Appendix C to the text and from Mr. George Meyers, inter-
viewed at the Riviera, Charleston, South Carolina, September 1982 and
January 1983.

4Mr. Benton practiced architecture in the Carolinas. He was not
a member of the AIA. His son Charles, Jr., also an architect, is now


4L..' -

Figure 3. Auditorium and stage of the Academy of Music.


in 1936 to design a modern theatre for the site. The one hundred year

old Academy of Music was demolished in late 1936 after nearly seventy

years service to the theatrical community.

On January 28, 1939, the Riviera Theatre opened to packed houses

with the film "Secrets of a Nurse," starring Edmund Lowe, Helen Mack,

Dick Foran and Paul Hurst. The theatre operated profitably through the

forties and was modernized in the fifties to accommodate a wider screen.

At this time seats were added over the filled-in orchestra and new seats

from the Gloria Theatre were installed in the balcony. The original

chilled water air conditioning system was updated and new ducts


The decline of the Riviera in the next two decades followed the

same pattern as that of any other urban cinema with the loss of audience

from suburbanization and the competition with newer houses. The theatre

closed its doors in September, 1977, the last of the downtown Charleston

theatres to close. Its brief resurrection as a Baptist church occurred

from 1979-1981, when changes were made in the name of renovation. The

black, brown and silver lobby was entirely painted an institutional green.

Red carpet was installed over the diagonally checked terrazzo floors.

The Greek mask over the proscenium was removed and stored backstage; the

congregation perceived it to be too satanic!

The Riviera is currently leased to Aperture Inc., an entertainment

company from Virginia. The new management has reopened the theatre with

retired in Morehead City, North Carolina. He was not able to provide
further information on his father's practice. The office records were
destroyed in a fire. He did however provide the photographs of the
Riviera in Appendix B.


the balcony roped-off and is screening classic and modern films in

double and triple features. Aside from cosmetic cleaning of the walls

and refurbishing torn seat cushions, no renovations have been attempted.

Physical Description

The Riviera is a flat-roofed steel frame structure with brick

infill. In The Picture Palace, Dennis Sharp cites the benefits of the

steel structure, providing a maximum of usable space in a minimum con-

struction period.5 The block-like appearance of the Riviera, like other

cinemas of the period, was a direct result of the steel frame structure.

The structural steel enabled the balcony to span the width of the build-

ing without posts to block the audience's view. The location of the

steel supporting the balcony is clearly visible in the construction

photographs, Figures 53, 54, and 55 in Appendix B.

The theatre is an excellent example of the art deco style, with a

tasteful application of decoration offset by generous planar surfaces.

Two pylons framing the marquee and an incised lotus frieze suggest an

Egyptian theme. Materials include cream-colored brick and reconstructed

stone, a method of simulating stone by using powdered stone as the

aggregate in the concrete mix. Decorative materials include black

Sanilite, gray terrazzo, and etched black carrara glass.6 The sidewalk

beneath the marquee is inlaid with a multicolored terrazzo design, a

common detail of the art deco style.

5Sharp, pp. 162-162.

6Sanilite is a trade name for the ceramic panel called Vitrolite
by other manufacturers. Letters from Mr. Sotille concerning the use of
Sanilite on the theatres are in a file in the Charleston Historical
Society Library.

Figure 4. The Riviera Theatre on the corner of King and
Market Street.

Figure 5. Cast-stone detail.

Figure 6. East elevation, King Street.

___ ___ till

__ 1m-

Figure 7. South elevation, Market Street.

The lobby, originally decorated with Masonite panels painted brown

and black to simulate marble and wood, has been repaneled with soft

green fibre tile.7 The original paneling may exist under the new.

Portions of black Masonite with a chrome edge still frame the doors.

Hidden under with red carpet, the lobby floor features diagonally

checked terrazzo, either black and cream as in the ladies' lounge or

red and yellow as in the foyer. A large mural over the entrance doors

has been covered with a mirror. An article in the Charleston News and

Courier tells of the original mural being damaged by an irate craftsman

in a dispute with his employer.8 Mr. Meyers believes that the first

mural was not repaired as suggested in the article, but that a new

design was executed. Carved polychrome cornices and a crystal chan-

delier was described by Mr. Meyers as a long fixture with flat panes

of frosted glass. The wrought iron ballustrade, originally black, was

favored by Mr. Sotille, who had been a blacksmith's apprentice in his

native Sicily. The wrought iron in the auditorium, across the front of

the stage and at the side exits, was added in the fifties.

The auditorium design is highlighted by the painted panels of

perforated Celotex tile. The painting was executed by Mr. Caligari of

Norfolk, Virginia. The panels are separated by white molded plaster

A description of the original decoration of the theatre was
obtained in an interview in September, 1982 with Mr. George Meyers,
a long-time employee of the Pastime Amusement Company.

8Articles from the Charleston News and Courier concerning the
Riviera are included in Appendix B.

9Charleston News and Courier, December 18, 1938. Mr. Caligari's
firm still operates in Norfolk. Records were not kept from early jobs
including the Riviera.

u ob



Figure 8. Lobby., transverse section.

Figure 9. Lobby detail, plaster mirror frame.

Lobby detail, plaster cornice.

Figure 10.


Figure 11. The lobby from the balcony.


pilasters with carved plaster capitals. Colors used in the auditorium

are much brighter than indicated in the color photographs. The walls

between the panels are mauve, appearing a greyed brown in the interior

light. Originally the wainscoting had been painted a deep midnight blue

to match the plush seat cushions. Much of the wall surfaces in the

balcony was repainted at the time of the alterations.

The most radical change in the theatre was the widening of the

stage in the fifties. The side walls next to the proscenium were

covered with wood panels. George Meyers described the original splayed

walls as having curtained openings leading to the emergency exits by the

way of steep ramps backstage. Painted plaster panels were above the

openings with large air-conditioning outlet grills near the ceiling. An

early photograph taken of the employees on the stage reputedly showed

the original proscenium and sidewall treatment. Although each employee

was given a copy, Mr. Meyers was unable to locate the photograph. Marks

on the floor indicate the location of the original wall. As rear exits

behind the proscenium were blocked by the alterations, two new exits

were opened mid-house,damaging the Celotex panels.

Seating in the auditorium by American Seating has plush backs and

leather seats with white standards originally painted red and black.

The first several rows of seats nearest the screen have wooden seats

and backs anticipating the children who usually sat there. The original
chairs in the balcony were replaced later with seats from another of

Sotille's Charleston theatres, the Gloria.

10Color photographs were printed from slides shot with tungsten
film at two and three second exposures without additional light.

Figure 12. Auditorium, logitudinal section.

( -v -r -y -.- -. ,- -.~. -r- -,rw -$
-, -~ -.4. .4. -.j -V *w -I. *-~'
- ---------r -c--- r
--jJ2fJ;4~4 f~YrT4L2gzT~~t~2J[

St I I T-

Figure 13. Auditorium, balcony front.

Figure 13. Auditorium, balcony front.

Figure 14. Celotex panels on the south wall of the orchestra.

Figure 15. Celotex panels on the north wall of the orchestra.

Figure 16. Celotex panels on the SW wall of the balcony.

Figure 17. Celotex panels on the NE wall of the balcony.

Figure 18. Detail of Celotex panel.

Figure 19. Detail of painted plaster panel.

Eigure 20. Pilaster capital in the orchestra.

Figure 21. The balcony viewed from the stage.

Figure 22. The stage from the rear of the balcony.

Figure 23. Orchestra seats by American Seating.

Figure 24. Discarded proscenium mask.

The narrow stage has little fly space to speak of, although two

teasers, a set of tormentors and a strip of borderlights are hung behind

the proscenium. The screen fills the entire opening. Air-conditioning

equipment, including the original blower, and the oil burner for the hot

water radiators are located behind the stage in a two story portion.

An interesting detail throughout the theatre is the odd-shaped

panel on the doors, a reflection of the auditorium plan. The red doors

at the entrance were replacements for the original doors removed when

Mr. Sotille realized that they looked like a row of upright coffins.

The office space above the lobby, 1320 square feet, has a separate

entry from King Street, and is connected to the theatre at the balcony

level. The space has been rented separately at various times. The

interior has been remodeled so that the windows above the marquee are

blocked with paneling. The space is arbitrarily divided with partition

walls. The roof above the offices is reached from the offices by a

stair behind the Market Street stairwell. The stair also leads to a

shallow storage room beneath the projection booth.

Condition of the Structure

Although the exterior of the building has been little changed, there

are a few problems which should be noted. A vertical crack in the brick

of the east facade next to the projection booth indicates a possible

foundation subsistence problem or even an outward rotational movement of

the south wall. A structural engineer should be called in to determine

whether some reinforcement is necessary. The bricks on the south wall

parapet of the rear mechanical shed lean out slightly, apparently need-

ing a better tie to the structure. There is also a cosmetic problem of

rust stains on the brick from the wrought iron decorative grills on the

south facade.

The major interior problems are concerned with moisture and water

intrusion. Severe peeling and flaking of the paint and plaster has

occurred since the building has been closed. There is evidence of a

dampness problem early on; the balcony walls repainted in the fifties

appear to have alligatoredd" soon after repainting, possibly due to a

damp wall. The brick walls do not have a cavity and therefore conduct

cold and dampness more readily. Without the dehumidification of the

heating and air-conditioning system, the damp seaside air readily con-

denses on the interior surfaces of the walls. Further investigation is

necessary to determine the extent of the humidity problem. It is possi-

ble that the entire interior surface would need to be furred away from

the brick.

A leak in the roof construction at the location of the rooftop

ventilator fan unit has resulted in water damage to the south balcony

wall and one of the acoustical panels. During rainstorms there is

intrusion of water through the roof ventilators,dripping water from

the grills onto the aisles below. The mid-house exit door on the north

wall is not raised from the grade of the alley and leaks water under-


The painted mural on the north wall under the balcony is in very

poor condition and would have to be completely restored. Lines of the

cartoon are still visible on the bare plaster so that the original design

could probably be restored. The small rectangular panels of painted

plaster above the acoustical tile panels need some restoration although

the Celotex panels themselves are in good condition. The molded plaster

decoration in the lobby and auditorium is still intact and in good con-

dition except for the theatre mask removed from above the proscenium.


Broken in two pieces, it collects dust on a shelf in a storeroom back-


Dirt and age have contributed to the overall dinginess of the

interior, a condition which could be remedied with soap and water and

some touches of new paint. The seats are in need of new upholstery.

New lamps are needed in the decorative neon fixtures.

Code Problems

There are some problems with codes which would have to be addressed

in a rehabilitation of the Riviera. Charleston has adopted the Standard

Building Code and requires that rehabilitation of existing structures

does not decrease the existing capabilities of the building.

The issue of egress is perhaps the most important. The balcony is

not provided with adequate egress routes. The stair from the lobby is

open and therefore classified as monumental, not qualifying as an exit.

The stairwell from the Market Street entrance, originally used as a

separate black entry, opens at the top of the balcony into a vomitorium

and therefore cannot be a fire-rated enclosure. Only the outdoor fire

escape onto the alley is an acceptable exit from the balcony.11

The theatre is not accessible to the handicapped. Three steps from

the lobby to the auditorium provide an effective barrier. The restrooms

not only are not accessible but also are under-equipped according to

numbers of fixtures recommended in the Standard Plumbing Code.12

11Southern Building Code Congress International, Standard Building
Code, 1979 ed. (Birmingham, Al.: Southern Building Code Congress Inter-
national, 1979), Chapter 11.

12Southern Building Code Congress International, Standard Plumbing
Code, 1975 ed. (Birmingham, Al.: Southern Building Code Congress Inter-
national, 1975), Table 923.4.


Although aisle widths and seat spacing are within acceptable code

limits, the row spacing of two feet nine inches is too close for com-

fortable passage between the seats. Burris-Meyer recommends a minimum

row spacing of three feet.13

Acoustical Characteristics

The Riviera has a reputation for excellent acoustics for cinema.

Its design follows trends in cinema architecture developed in the

thirties utilizing the latest acoustical and film presentation research.

By that time, information on cinema design was being distributed to the

architecture profession through articles in Architectural Record,

Architectural Forum, and other publications. The September, 1932 issue

of Architectural Forum was devoted entirely to innovative theatre


The recommended plan was an elongated fan shape in which the most

desirable seats were within a 100 degree angle to the screen face at the

proscenium opening.15 An audience member seated outside that angle

would be subjected to a distorted image on the screen. A rectangular

house with parallel side walls was to be avoided because of the possi-

bility of standing wave generation between the walls.16 Vern 0. Knudsen,

writing in 1932, suggested that as the sound "horn" was quite capable of

producing an adequate sound level throughout the theatre, further shaping

13Harold Burris-Meyer and Edward C. Cole, Theatres and Auditoriums,
2nd ed. (New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1964), p. 59.

14Architectural Forum 51 (September, 1932).

15Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, pp. 64-65.

16Michael Rettinger, Applied Architectural Acoustics (Brooklyn:
Chemical Publishing Co., 1947), p. 75.


of the space for sound reinforcement was not necessary. He recommended

instead the application of heavily absorptive materials on side and rear

walls to minimize reflections.17 Because of site limitations, the

Riviera was built with parallel side walls. Accordingly, panels of

Celotex acoustical tile were introduced to minimize reverberation

between the walls. The original splayed walls next to the proscenium

would have provided some sound reinforcement, throwing relfected sound

toward the distant rear wall of the house.

The Riviera is not an oversized auditorium. Many theatres which

function very well are much larger. Indeed, in 1932 Knudsen stated that

with modern sound system capabilities, it could easily be possible to

design cinemas for as many as 200,000 persons.18 The state of the art

in film projection, however, limited the screen width to 35 feet, a wider
screen resulting in a grainy image. The Riviera does suffer from a

disproportionate width to length ratio. The recommended width of an

auditorium with a balcony is from 50 to 70 percent of its length, While

the width of the Riviera is only 41 percent of its length.20 As a result

there is some shadowing of sound beneath the balcony.

In a reverberation calculation, the Riviera auditorium must be con-

sidered as a set of coupled spaces. The openings above and below the

17Vern 0. Knudsen, Architectural Acoustics (New York: John Wiley &
Sons, 1932), pp. 526-527.
18Ibid, p. 533.

19Ben Schlanger, "Motion Picture Theatres," Architectural Record 81
(February, 1937), p. 19.

20Rettinger, Applied Architectural Acoustics, p. 83.

balcony, and the stage openings, contribute to the orchestra, or lower

portion of the auditorium, as the sound not absorbed within is reflected

back through the openings. Tables 1 and 2 show a comparison of the

calculated reverberation time at 125, 500 and 2000 Hz for the auditorium

including the balcony space and for the orchestra only. The resulting

figures, 1.2, .55 and .55 seconds at 125, 500 and 2000 Hz respectively,

for the full volume versus 1.8 seconds at 125 Hz and 1.2 seconds at 500

and 2000 Hz for the orchestra alone, are only an indication of what the

actual reverberation time would be if electronically tested. Actual

figures would probably be somewhere between the two sets of figures,

varying throughout the theatre, with a shorter reverberation time in

the rear of the balcony than on the orchestra floor.

The optimum reverberation time at 500 Hz for a cinema theatre of

this volume is between 1 and 1.2 seconds. In his text, Kinzey notes

that because of the loudness levels of low frequency sounds, the

reverberation time should be increased for frequencies below the 500

Hz.21 A 50 percent suggested increase for a large room would raise the

recommended time for 125 cps to 1.5-1.8 seconds. The calculations for

the Riviera auditorium are ballpark figures sufficient to indicate no

great acoustical problems with the space as it exists. Relative to the

adaptation of the theatre for another use, the figures indicate that for

speech, some modification to support higher frequency sound would be

needed. For concert use, the reverberation time would have to be

doubled, suggesting a more extensive alteration of the space or


21Bertram Y. Kinzey, Jr. and Howard M. Sharp, Environmental Tech-
nologies in Architecture (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963),
pp. 359-360.


125 Hz 500 Hz 2000 Hz
Surface and Materials S
(sq ft) S < S S Auth.

Aisles, carpet, heavy on concrete 1130 .05 56.5 .25 282.5 .60 678.0 a
Floor before stage, concrete 480 .01 4.8 .02 9.6 .02 9.6 a
Audience in upholstered seats 6500 .60 3900.0 .88 5720.0 .93 6045.0 a
Stage floor, wood 290 .05 14.5 .03 8.7 .03 8.7 a

Side Walls
Plaster, smooth fin. on brick 3160 .01 31.6 .02 63.2 .04 126.4 a
Acousti-Celotex, 1", rigid mount 1345 .14 188.3 .99 1331.6 .60 807.0 b
Wainscoting, fiberboard on 1100 .12 132.0 .80 880.0 .80 880.0 b
Wood panel, rigid mount 720 .08 57.6 .06 43.2 .06 43.2 a

Balcony Face
Sides, Acousti-Celotex, 1" on 140 .25 35.0 .99 138.6 .58 81.2 b
Center, plaster on lath 50 .04 2.0 .06 2.0 .05 2.5 a
Rear Wall
Acousti-Celotex, 14", rigid 460 .14 64.4 .99 455.4 .60 276.0 b
Plaster, suspended, smooth fin. 5760 .25 1440.0 .10 576.0 .05 288.0 c
Stage Opening
Heavy insul. behind screen 960 .50 480.0 .75 720.0 .75 720.0 b

Table 1 (continued)

125 Hz 500 Hz 2000 Hz
Surface and Materials S C S S S Auth.
( s q f t ) __

___S 21,905

.SS 6369.7 10,090.2 988.9

S=: So .291 .461 .451

-2.30 log10(l-t) .3435 .6174 .5990

S(-2.30 log10(1-R)) 7524.4 13,524.1 13,121.1

R (sec) 1.20 0.55 0.55 d
(Volume = 165,000 cu ft)

aKinzey, pp. 340-41.
bvern 0. Knudsen and Cyril M. Harris, Acoustical Designing in Architecture (New York:
Sons, 1950), pp. 406-25.

John Wiley &

cWilli Furrer, Room and Building Acoustics and Noise Abatement, trans. Evelyn R. Robinson and Peter
Lord (Washington: Butterworths, 1964), pp. 66-70.
dKinzey, pp. 332-33.



125 Hz 500 Hz 2000 Hz
Surface and Materials S
(sq ft) C K p ( a c Auth.

Aisles, carpet, heavy on concrete 360 .05 18.0 .25 90.0 .60 216.0 a
Floor before stage, concrete 480 .01 4.8 .02 9.6 .02 9.6 a
Audience in upholstered seats 2040 .60 1224.0 .88 1795.2 .93 1897.2 a
Stage floor, wood 290 .05 14.5 .03 8.7 .03 8.7 a

Side Walls
Plaster, smooth fin. on brick 1490 .01 14.9 .02 29.8 .04 59.6 a
Acousti-Celotex, I1", rigid mount 865 .14 121.1 .99 856.4 .60 519.0 b
Wainscoting, fiberboard on
stud 840 .12 100.8 .80 672.0 .80 672.0 b
Wood panel, rigid mount 720 .08 57.6 .06 43.2 .06 43.2 a

Balcony Face
Sides, Acousti-Celotex, 1" on
lath 140 .25 35.0 .99 138.6 .58 81.2 b
Center, decorative plaster on
lath 50 .04 2.0 .06 3.0 .05 2.5 a
Balcony openings 1150 .40 460.0 .65 747.5 .75 862.5 b

Plaster, suspended, smooth fin. 3260 .25 815.0 .10 326.0 .05 163.0 c

Table 2 (continued)

125 Hz 500 Hz 2000 Hz
Surface and Materials S
(sq ft) SM I SK S Auth.

Stage Opening
Heavy insul. behind screen 960 .50 480.0 .75 720.0 .75 720.0 b

ZS 12,645

7S 1 3347.7 5440.0 5254.5

R=F S .265 .430 .416

-2.30 log10(I1-) .3076 .5615 .5373

S(-2.30 log10(l-R )) 3889.6 7100.2 6794.2

R(sec) 1.8 1.2 1.2 d
(Volume = 98,000 cu ft)

aKinzey, pp. 340-41.
bKnudsen, pp. 406-26.
cFurrer, pp. 66-70.
dKinzey, pp. 332-33.


Visual Considerations

The problem of the size of the Riviera relative to audience's

enjoyment of film is less a problem of acoustics than of visual con-

siderations. In early theatres, the screen was frequently perceived

of as a small object on the distant stage. In modern theatres, the

screen is larger and closer to all members of the audience who have

been conditioned to expect an image filling their visual field, involv-

ing them more completely into the action of the film.

Figure 25 illustrates the original and existing screen size at the

Riviera, showing the screen within the projected cone of vision from

critical points in the auditorium. It is apparent that an audience

member seated behind the front of the balcony would see an image akin

to that of his home television set. The diagrams of the original screen

further emphasize the difference between that which was acceptable in

the early days of the cinema and today's expectations.

The extreme length relative to the width of the house would dis-

courage not only a cinema audience but also an audience for legitimate

theatre. Limited by the size of the stage, the small scale dramatic

presentations which could be produced rely on subtle movements of face

and figure, generally indistinguishable from a distance of more than

50 feet.22

It becomes clear that a workable solution to the rehabilitation of

the Riviera must address the problem of the extreme length of the audi-

torium. Either the audience area must be reduced to bring the audience

22Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 67.



Figure 25.

The original (35mm) and existing (70mm) screens as seen
from critical points in the auditorium.


member into a better relationship with the stage, or the stage house

must be enlarged to accommodate productions of a broad style suitable

for the large house.



Preliminary Programming Decisions

The decision to adapt the Riviera for legitimate theatre use was

made at the beginning of the research period to enable an exploration

of programming for the theatre. The resulting study involved the recon-

ciliation of a complicated technical program with the constraints of an

existing building. The program presumed the existence of a professional

acting company of regional stature interested in obtaining a permanent

house for the presentation of small scale contemporary and period drama.

All productions would be designed and built by a resident production

staff. The company could be compared in scale to the Hippodrome Theatre

in Gainesville, Florida. Although a specific company was not identified

in Charleston, the size of the community and the growing cultural

interest indicates that such a company and its corresponding need could

exist. The applicability of a similar program and design for movie

theatres in other urban areas suggests that the Riviera investigation

could serve as a model.

In the first chapter of Theatres and Auditoriums, Burris-Meyer

identifies the needs of different types of theatres and the functional

relationships of the required spaces. His recommendations were the

primary source used to develop the program for the Riviera. Investiga-

tion of public spaces and their relative areas indicates that the Riveria

would need additional lobby and lounge areas especially for the overflow

of an intermission audience. Stage area is minimal and would need

expansion in some direction depending on the type of performances

anticipated. Production space is entirely lacking. A new structure

must be provided unless the functions could be accommodated within the

small building behind the theatre.

Schematic Design

Figure 26 illustrates alternative schematic solutions which could

be developed. The first two sections propose the reduction of the house

from the rear, developing production space above the balcony and addi-

tional lobby space below. Figure 26(a) shows an addition onto the rear

of the stage, extending its depth, while Figure 26(b) shows a vertical

expansion to provide flyspace. The resulting moderate size house would

seat approximately 750 persons, about three-quarters of the original

house. Close to half of the seats, however, would be farther than

fifty feet from the stage, too far for those audience members to dis-

tinguish facial expression. Such a house would not be ideal for legiti-

mate drama.

Figure 26(c) shows the division of the house at the balcony front.

The remaining seats in the orchestra are within a good viewing distance

of the stage. The resulting house, an intimate theatre more in scale

with the existing stage area, would seat 300-350 persons. The space

created in the balcony would serve as a movie theatre. There is a

natural division of the auditorium decoration at the balcony front.

The ceiling treatment is very different above the two spaces, running

longitudinally above the orchestra and transversely across the balcony.

The addition of a control booth in the front of the balcony would divide

the space. Its volume would provide the necessary noise control between

Figure 26.

Schematic design solutions.

Figure 27.

Balcony front showing the implied division of
the house into two distinct spaces.

the theatres. Extending the division beneath the balcony would generate

space for a new lounge.

The last section shows also a more conservative alternative for the

addition of support facilities. The existing building would be adapted

for production spaces with the scene shop on the first floor and the

costume shop and dressing rooms on the second floor. Rehearsal space

could be provided directly behind the stage. The alley between the two

buildings, access to the exits and fire escape on the north side of the

theatre, would have to remain clear. There would have to be a bridging

connection to the shop building at the second floor.

In order to determine whether the existing building would provide

adequate production space, it was necessary to make a rough calculation

of the needed space, using square footage guidelines from Burris-Meyer,

modified for the small acting company. It was determined in Table 3

that the production and rehearsal activities would require approximately

5580 square feet. The rear portion of the theatre and the rear building

have a combined area of 5576 square feet. As the building has been

recently renovated and is in good condition, it would be foolish to

demolish it to replace it with the same area in another building.

The schematic design required consideration of the location of new

mechanical equipment. Since space in the backstage area would be at a

premium, it would be preferable to locate the equipment on the roof of

the theatre. A central location of an air-handling unit between the two

theatre spaces would simplify the air distribution systems.

llbid., pp. 157-167; Idem, "Theatres, Community Theatres," in Time-
Saver Standards for Building Types, ed. Joseph De Chiara and John H.
Callender, 2d ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980), p. 372.

The rear building as it was built.


Figure 29. Renovated facade of the rear building.

Figure 28.




Space Sq fta

Rehearsal Room ........................ 600

Green Room............................. 300

Scene Shop
Construction space .................. 800
Materials Storage................... 200
Prop and set piece storage .......... 600
Office ............................... 150

Costume Shop
Workroom................ ......... 600
Costume storage..................... 150
Accessories storage ................. 150
Office............................... 100

Dressing Rooms
Two bathrooms ...................... 300
Two dressing rooms ................. 700
Make-up storage .................... 50


+ 20% circ. factor 930

Total ................................ 5580 sq ft

aBurris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums,
pp. 153-70, 307-26.


Figure 26(c) was selected as the most conservative alternative for

the schematic solution to limit the amount of new construction. It was

intended that the concentration of the focus in design development would

be within the auditorium space and not become extended with the design

of new production facilities. The auditorium systems could then be

resolved to a greater level of detail.

Final Program for the Theatre

Freedom in programming for the Riviera was limited by the size and

organization of the existing spaces, so that additional spaces could be

provided only through reorganization of existing functions. For example,

in the schematic design, a lounge would be created under the balcony

through the loss of seating. How much of this space would actually be

available for the lounge was dependent on space needed for other lobby


The theatre was programmed for three user groups, the audience, the

actors and the production staff. Each was considered individually

although the needs of the three groups would obviously interact. Much

of the following programming, except that otherwise noted, was derived

from personal experience in educational and professional theatre.

The Needs of the Audience

Clear sightlines, comfortable seating and good acoustics during the

performance is only a part of the programming considerations for the

audience member. Other audience activities must be considered to insure

a smooth efficient traffic flow before and after the performance, during

the intermission and in the event of an emergency. Certain activities

traditionally occur in specific spaces as the audience member enters the

theatre, including ticket purchasing, coat checking or waiting for


friends. Figures 30 and 31 illustrate the audience flow for the Riviera

Theatre, based on a similar chart by Burris-Meyer.2 The two figures

show the difference in the flow for two entry schemes, the first with

the entrance for both theatres on the King Street and the second with the

cinema entrance on Market Street. Although circulation paths would be

greatly simplified with the second scheme, direct access to the balcony

cinema from Market Street would bar the movie patrons from the restrooms

in the lobby. The existing restrooms at the top of the balcony are

inadequate and poorly located. Figure 30 was developed in the program

and design.

In order for the lobby to serve both the cinema and the theatre,

accommodations must be made in scheduling of showtimes so that both

groups do not enter at the same time and so that the theatre inter-

mission does not coincide with the beginning or end of a film. Addi-

tional control of circulation through the strategic location of ushers

and ticket takers would be a critical factor. With staggered entry

times, recommended areas for foyer, lobby and lounge could be calculated

for the theatre capacity of 300-350 persons instead of for the combined

seating of nearly 600. Egress requirements, however, must consider the

capacities of both houses.

The program for the audience spaces may be derived from the flow

chart which shows the activities which would take place in each area.

The first sheltered space encountered by the patron is under the marquee.

The original ticket booth outside the foyer entry should be used for the

sale of movie tickets and a second ticket booth provided in the foyer

2Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 52.




Figure 30.


Audience flow

chart, theatre and cinema entrances on King





ELEV Il. e

II..~I)K1 I
- -
~ E~9 I



Figure 31. Audience flow chart, cinema entrance on Market Street

Figure 32. Ticket booth.


for theatre tickets. Traditionally, the theatre ticket booth has

required a great deal of space for bulky ticket boards, a safe to lock

them in, and several ticket sellers to speed the process.3 The minimum

area for a ticket booth for a community theatre suggested in Time-Saver

Standards for Building Types is 50 square feet.4 The theatre ticket

booth, however, is a perfect candidate for the use of a computerized

sales system. One display screen could list available seats for any

performance and a printer could print the desired tickets as needed,

eliminating multiple racks of unsold tickets. Not only would a com-

puter cut down on the space needed for the booth but also it would

speed the ticket sales and help eliminate lines at the booth.

In addition to ticket sales, the foyer acts as a stopping point

for the theatre-goer waiting to meet friends, looking at display boards

of coming events or just coming in from the cold. The area of the foyer

should be large enough so that these activities do not interfere with

each other. The recommended area for a foyer is one square foot per

seat, 300-350 square feet.5 The foyer in the Riviera has only 224

square feet, all the more reason for an efficient ticket sales system

to minimize lines that would further congest the space.

The recommended area for the lobby is 1.8 square feet per seat or

540-630 square feet.6 The existing lobby has 520 square feet. The

lobby is the focal point for the redirection of traffic to the different

31bid., pp. 95-98.

41dem, "Community Theatres," p. 372.

5Idem, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 50.

6Ibid., p. 51.

~ ~ ~ -

Figure 33.

The lobby and foyer. The new stairwell would
open to the right.

levels of the theatre and to the other audience spaces such as restrooms

and lounge. As the lobby stair to the balcony is open, it is classified

as a monumental stair and cannot be conducted as egress.7 The enclosed

stairway from the Market Street entrance, originally the black entrance

to a segregated section of the balcony, would have to be used to provide

proper egress.

The restrooms in the lobby should be large enough to serve both the

theatre and the c-inema since both houses would be occupied simultaneously.

The existing restrooms are inadequate according to the standards set in

the Standard Plumbing Code, requiring for 600 persons, three toilets and

two lavatories each for men and women and two urinals for the men.8 The

restrooms should be equipped for the handicapped according to Section

508.3(c) of the Standard Building Code.

Coat checking facilities in the lobby area should be provided to

serve the entire audience. To encourage checking of wraps, it is

necessary for the counter to be of sufficient length so that traffic

flow will not be slowed.9 With limited space in the lobby, the coat

check may have to be located in the lounge area.

There must be barrier-free access to the lounge, currently separated

from the lobby by a three-step level change of 1 feet. A ramp at the

maximum allowable slope of 1:12 would have to be 18 feet long.10

7Southern, Standard Building Code, Sec. 1107.

8Idem, Standard Plumbing Code, Table

9Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 51.

10Southern, Standard Building Code, Sect. 1118(f).

The lounge, created under the balcony, ideally should have an area

of 1800 square feet, or 6 square feet per seat.11 The available space

is 2160 square feet. Space will be lost with the introduction of the

structure to support the mechanical equipment on the roof. That space

could easily be used for the bar and service for the lounge. There

should also be an office for the house manager located off the lobby

or lounge. Circulation through the lounge to the theatre must be clear

and direct.

The decoration under the balcony should be considered in the design

of the lounge. The murals on the side walls extend the full length of

the space. No structure should be introduced against the wall that

would block the murals. The single coffered ceiling defines a focal

space in the center which should be considered in the design of the


The theatre should accommodate 300-350 persons. The row spacing

and seating profile, designed for cinema viewing must be altered some-

what to provide an unobstructed view of the stage. Figure 34 compares

the ideal seating profile for the Riviera stage to the existing floor

level.12 It is obvious that it would be difficult to realize the ideal

profile, even with the use of staggered seating. Some compromises must

be made. The existing seats and standards should be used, with the

option of replacing the cushions with some of different widths in order

to stagger the seats.

11Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, pp. 51, 53.

12The seating profiles were developed according to the method
described by Burris-Meyer in Theatres and Auditoriums (pp. 68-70).


The Standard Building Code requires of a Group A Assembly occupancy

a minimum of one exit unit (22 inches) per 100 persons for level travel

and one exit unit per 75 persons for stairs. For 350 persons in the

theatre, each aisle must be at least 44" wide. There may be only four-

teen seats in the rows between the aisles and seven seats on the end

rows served by only one aisle.13

As the maximum length of a deadend aisle is 20 feet, there will

need to be exits at the ends of the aisles near the stage.14 The floor

of the theatre at the front of the house, however, is 3 feet below

grade. The existing doors, introduced in the fifties at the center of

the side walls, are further than 20 feet from the front rows and are

therefore insufficient egress. Some other provision for egress must

be made.

The Needs of the Actor

As with the audience member, the activities of the actor can be

represented with a flow chart (figure 35) showing the activities which

occur in the different spaces. The dressing rooms would be utilized

most heavily by the actors changing into rehearsal clothes, making-up,

and dressing for a performance. The dressing room at the Riviera

should be large enough to accommodate 12 actors and 12 actresses in

separate group dressing rooms. As a small acting company, no pro-

visions would be made for individual dressing rooms for principals or

stars. There should be at least 16 square feet of space for each actor

13Southern, Standard Building Code, Secs. 1105(a,b), 404.14(e,f).
14Ibid., Sec. 404.14(a).


Figure 34. Existing and ideal seating profiles of the orchestra.

Cast Calls
Line Rehearsal

-T -.....- ST AG

Sign in Dressing Fittings Rehearsal Crossoieers Performance
Call Board Mke up Waiting for Cues Off-stage Rehearsal
Quick Changes Lines

Figure 35. Actors' flow chart.


or 192 square feet in each dressing room.15 The rooms will need counter

space with well-lit make-up mirrors and open shelf space below for per-

sonal items and costume accessories. Locker space for valuables should

be considered. There should be a clear space for movable costume racks.

The adjacent bathrooms should each include two toilets, two lava-

tories and a shower in addition to two make-up sinks in the dressing

rooms. There should be a separate room for storage and application of

specialty make-up. The Standard Building Code requires two exits from

dressing room areas, one of which must lead directly onto an exit court

or street.16

The greenroom is the place for the actor to relax when he is not

actively engaged in rehearsal or performance. Frequently the room is

used by actors running their lines and for postperformance notes. In

a small company, the production crew will also make full use of the

greenroom. The room should be somewhat isolated, comfortably furnished

and large enough to accommodate the entire company. There should be

space for a small kitchenette and eating area. A darkroom could easily

be programmed adjacent to the greenroom, isolating it somewhat from the

other functions of the backstage.

The rehearsal room, separate from the stage so that one show may

be prepared during the run of another, should have an acting area as

large as that on the stage with extra space for the director to observe

the action from a distance.17 The rehearsal room should be a flexible

15Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 157.

16Southern, Standard Building Code, Sec. 1110.

space furnished with units to simulate set pieces and levels, with at

least one fully mirrored wall. In the Riviera, the location of the

rehearsal room behind the stage would provide an area for the actors

to wait backstage during a production as well as space for quick


The actors and the technical crew are both involved in the use of

the stage and have certain demands of the space. The actor must be

able to move about, around, and behind the set and make entrances from

several directions. There must be space for set pieces and property

tables in the wings. The stage manager's position, ladders to light

bridges and catwalks, and lockrails for the flying system must be

located. The complete stage design will not be attempted in this work

in order to concentrate on the characteristics of the auditorium,

although some of the basic requirements will be considered.

Lighting for the Riviera stage must be coordinated with new air

distribution systems as well as with shaping of the ceiling for better

acoustical control. The stage of that size with a cyclorama requires

approximately 180 light instruments distributed throughout the house

and above the stage.18 The importance of lighting the stage from

several directions simultaneously is described by Stanley McCandless

in A New Method of Lighting the Stage.19 In the Riviera, lighting

instruments will have to be hung in ceiling and sidewall slots near

the proscenium, at the foot of the stage and at the balcony front.

Above the stage there should be at least two light pipes in addition

18Ibid., p. 310.

19Stanley McCandless, A Method of Lighting the Stage, new rev. ed.
(New York: Theatre Arts Books: Robert M. MacGregor, 1947), p. 54.


to overhead and trough lighting for the cyclorama.20 Ventilation should

be provided near the instruments to relieve the additional heat load
generated by the lights. The instruments must be accessible from a

catwalk or bridge for focusing. At the rear of the house a sound and

light control booth, positions for follow spots and projection equipment,

rewind room, power room, restroom, and workroom for the lighting techni-

cian will need to be located. Special requirements for the projection

booth, in Section 404.12 of the Standard Building Code, include a floor

area of 120 square feet for two machines, a ceiling height of at least

7'6" and a separate exhaust duct for each projector. The projection

booth should be located so that the angle of projection does not exceed

ten degrees from the horizontal.22 The sound control booth should be

located higher up to afford the best view of the stage. Two follow

spot positions on either side of the house are preferable to one in

the center.23

The Needs of the Production Staff

The production staff includes the directors, producers, managers,

designers, technicians and crews. For the Riviera, there are three areas

20Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 260.

21American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning
Engineers, ASHRAE Handbook, Vol. A, 1982 Applications (Atlanta: ASHRAE,
1982), p. 4.5.

22Ben Schlanger, "Movie Theatres," in Time-Saver Standards for Build-
ing Types, ed. Joseph De Chiara and John H. Callender, 2d. ed. (New York:
McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980), p. 1119.

23Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 267.


of production which can be located in separate areas of the building,

the scenery and costume departments and the management section.

Management functions should be handled in the office space above

the lobby. The program should include private offices for the directors

and business manager, a large meeting space for conferences with pro-

ducers and backers or for company meetings, and an archive or script

library and area for research. Space for a secretary-receptionist will

also be needed.

Costume and scenery production should be located in the adjoining

building. The scene shop should be located on the same level as the

stage, leaving the costume shop to occupy the second floor with the

dressing rooms. The costume shop should be equipped for the construc-

tion of entire productions in house. The costume staff would include

the resident designer, who would also serve as shop supervisor, and a

crew of two to four additional costumers and wardrobe personnel.

Costumers are involved with the construction while wardrobe is responsi-

ble for costume changes and maintenance during the run of a show. Most

likely the costume crew would function in both capacities. In this

small company, other activities such as shopping, accessorizing, and

milinery would be handled by the same crew.

The costume shop must be large enough for all the draping, pattern-

making, stitching and fitting to occur simultaneously. Figure 36 shows

the various activities and their space requirements resulting in a mini-

mum area of 515 square feet. Storage of accessories and costume pieces

will expand to fill any unassigned space, but a minimum of 150 square

feet should be provided initially. Stock costumes should be stored in

ventilated lockers opening onto a hallway to minimize wasted space. The

lockers should be usable to the full ceiling height.


Doorways in the costume shop, dressing rooms and along the route

to the stage should open to four feet to allow the costumed actor to

pass through easily. If at all possible, an elevator or even a dumb-

waiter should be provided to help move costumes to the backstage area

for quick changes.

Like the costume shop, the scene shop should be able to accommodate

the different stages of construction with a minimum of disorganization.

The set designer, who may or may not function as the technical director,

works with a construction crew who then becomes the running crew during

a production. The lighting designer functions separately from the set

designer but often shares crew members with the set designer.

A schematic layout of the proposed scene shop (figure 37) shows the

process of set construction as a flow diagram. There should be as much

clear floor space as possible. There can never be enough storage space

for set pieces property. The ceiling of the scene shop should be raised

to its maximum height and a ventilation system introduced. There must

be a separate fireproof locker or closet for the storage of volatile

paint chemicals.

While the alley from the north of the theatre may not be blocked,

there must be provisions for moving set pieces across to the backstage

area. A six foot wide door should be opened in the side of the building

and the rear door of the theatre widened if possible. The existing

changes in level at the northwest corner porch should be leveled.

The actors must have an enclosed passage to the stage area from

the dressing rooms. This should be provided at the second floor level

so as not to block the alley. The 1 foot discrepancy in floor levels

must be reconciled.

Space requirements of the costume shop.

Space requirements of the scene shop.

Figure 36.

Figure 37.



Final Program for the Cinema

The cinema program is considered separately as it does not involve

the actors and production crew of the theatre. Figure 30 also indicates

the cinema audience activity flow. In the lobby, the moviegoer must be

directed to the cinema theatre. The enclosed stairwell should be opened

to the lobby with some provision for firesafety such as a descending

fire screen. Assuming a house of approximately 225 persons, the stair

should be at least three exit units or 5'6" wide.24 The stair should be

enclosed in some way at the top of the balcony. Adequate egress is pro-

vided by the fire stair on the north elevation. An elevator to the

second and third floors should be installed, both for the handicapped

access to the cinema and for service access to both booths.

A concession stand should be provided primarily for the movie

patrons. The bar in the lounge would serve the theatre audience.

The movie screen should be located as far as possible from the

projection booth to minimize graininess of the image.25 The screen

should be proportioned for film with an aspect ratio of 1:2.2, the

proportion of wide screen films.26 Other film types can be projected

on that screen. The first row of seats should not be located closer

than 60% of the screen width to the screen for modern film types.27

For the reduced length of the space, the screen width will correspond-

ingly be limited. The projectors would probably have to be modified

24Southern, Standard Building Code, Sec. 1105.3(a).

25Schlanger, "Movie Theatres," p. 1119.

26Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 254.

27Michael Rettinger, Acoustics, Room Design and Noise Control
(New York: Chemical Publishing Co., 1968), p. 276.


with new lenses to correct for the change in focal length, if not

replaced altogether with a modern system.

A five foot deep space must be provided behind the screen for the

loudspeaker system.28 The entire wall surface behind the screen should

be covered with a black sound-and-light-absorbtive blanket.29 With the

reduction in volume, the reverberation time for the cinema should be

recalculated to determine any changes necessary to keep it within the

optimum range.

28Schlanger, "Movie Theatres," p. 1121

29Rettinger, Room Design, p. 278.



The various spaces and functions of the Riviera involve interrelated

design issues which could not be developed separately. For example, the

new seating profile for the theatre dictated the floor level of the

lounge. The murals on the lounge walls directed the circulation, the

placement of the doors into the theatre, and consequently, the aisle

positions which then affected the seating profile. For clarity, however,

the different spaces of the Riviera will be discussed separately follow-

ing the order of Chapter II, but beginning with the new air-conditioning

system. Plates 5-8 in Appendix A represent the solutions presented in

the final design critique.

Air-Conditioning Systems

In the schematic design process, the need to move the air-condition-

ing and heating equipment from their original location backstage was

identified. This liberated needed backstage space for production and

rehearsal functions. The two theatres created by the division of the

house have very different heating and cooling needs. ASHRAE Handbook,

1982 Applications recommends the use of all-air systems for heating or

cooling of theatre buildings, either with single zone or variable volume

systems or with separate air-handling units for each major space. For

1ASHRAE, Applications, p. 4.2.


the Riviera, the location of the two air-handling units on the roof

between the two spaces simplified the air-distribution to the theatre.

The conditioning of the offices and lobby was provided for by a

unit on the roof above the offices. The heaviest load on that system

would occur during intermission, for only a short period of time, and

would be partially handled by the theatre systems. The office unit

would be relatively small and not require additional structural support.

The space behind the stage originally occupied by the mechanical

equipment would be conditioned by an extension of the system in the shop

building across the alley. This arrangement kept the already limited

fly space clear of bulky ducts. No conditioned air was introduced onto

the stage. Burris-Meyer cautions against drafts from air-conditioning
outlets which would cause motion of the scenery. Heat from the lights

above the stage would be exhausted above the proscenium opening into

the ceiling plenum which would be mechanically ventilated.3 Figure 38

shows the schematic distribution of supply and return air for the four

air-handling units.

The location of the air-handling units of the roof necessitated the

introduction of additional structure. The existing roof system of steel

decking on bar joists was not designed for that increased load. Some

sort of structural isolation is recommended for mechanical systems to

eliminate structural-born noise and vibrations which would disturb the

theatrical production.4 As illustrated in figure 39, a steel platform

2Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, p. 121.

3ASHRAE, Applications, p. 4.5.

4Ibid., p. 4.3.

Figure 38. Schematic mechanical distribution.

Figure 39. New structure to support the mechanical equipment.

on columns was introduced within the structural bay behind the balcony

front. Supported on new footings below the orchestra floor, the columns

of bolted steel sections extended through the balcony but were isolated

from its structure. The 1/r ratio on the columns was reduced by the

lateral bracing of beams supporting an intermediate level of the control


The column location resulted from functional demands and considera-

tion of the interior decoration. In order not to block the under-balcony

murals and to provide circulation space, the columns had to be pulled

away from the walls. The distance from the walls was limited by the

size of the platform needed on the roof. Definite space requirements

of the control and projection booths also define the depth and width of

the new structure. In order to determine the size of platform needed,

it was necessary to calculate the size of the mechanical equipment.

In Charleston, the average number of cooling days exceeds the number

of days requiring heat.5 Additionally, the theatre cooling load would be

increased by the audience and stage lights. The air-handling units,

therefore, were sized according to summer cooling loads. Air-condition-

ing calculations for the theatre and cinema are included in full in

Appendix D. Cooling load estimates for the theatre were derived from

several shortcut methods arriving at figures from 150,000 to 416,000

Btuh. A calculation of the theatre cooling load resulted in a figure

of 334,144 Btuh. The theatre would require a 28 ton unit, represented

by Carrier Model 50DF with a capacity of 10,000 cfm. For the cinema,

5American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning
Engineers, ASHRAE Handbook, Vol. F, 1981 Fundamentals (Atlanta: ASHRAE,
1981), p. 24.26.


shortcut estimates resulted in figures from 72,000 to 108,680 Btuh.

The calculated cooling load was 95,590 Btuh. For the 8.5 tons of

cooling required, a Carrier Model 50DP with a 4000 cfm capacity was

selected. The units would fit on a platform of 8 x 26 feet minimum.

Preliminary duct sizing, also included in Appendix D, was calcu-

lated to determine if the ducts would fit in the three foot space

between the rods supporting the ceiling. The attic plan was included

in the final set of drawings (Appendix A) to show how the air distribu-

tion system was coordinated with the stage lighting system.

The Lobby and Circulation Systems

The new design for the foyer and lobby are illustrated in figures

40 and 41. Major alterations were made in the locations of the restrooms

and in the access to the balcony. In order to control access to the

second floor cinema, it was necessary to establish one point only where

tickets could be collected. That special circulation route was created

by eliminating the lobby stair to the balcony and opening the stairwell

from the Market Street entrance onto the lobby. The elevator shaft,

located within the stairwell, occupies a separate shaft and was therefore

allowed under code.6 The floor pattern of the lobby was extended into

the stairhall and lounge areas to further the continuity between the

spaces. The removal of the lobby stair allowed space for a ramp for the

handicapped into the lounge.

Renovation of the foyer and lobby would include restoration of the

original black and chrome panels, introducing shades of lavender, used

6Southern, Standard Building Code, Sec. 1121(6).

Bar L 014u
--i ( z*

.0f U!
Z* Z

House l. .
anger .... ._, ,
0 0

; : -. ; o: :.. .
-.-. "'-.---.'. .- *O 0
*- -. -,
Coat Check

0 4 8 16ft.

Figure 40. Lobby plan.

Lobby perspective.

Figure 42. Lounge perspective.

Figure 41.


in the auditorium, on the plaster surfaces. In addition to the restora-

tion of the mural, hidden under the mirrored wall above the entry doors,

the wrought iron ballusters would be repainted their original black.

The Lounge and Bar

The lounge (figure 42) was located centrally under the coffered

portion of the balcony soffit. Circulation to the theatre was allowed

to pass on either side along the murals. The wrought iron rail,

originally across the front of the stage, was used to define the change

in floor levels. Colors used in the lounge would include the lavender

of the lobby as well as deep midnight blue, the original color of the

auditorium wainscoting. The lounge would be carpeted in a pattern to

coordinate with the diagonal terrazzo of the lobby.

The Theatre

The change of the Riviera orchestra from a cinema to a theatre for

legitimate drama required alterations of the stage, seating profile, and

ceiling plane (figures 44 and 45). The stage was extended for a maximum

acting area between the angled side walls, returned to their original


Whereas the floor slope of the cinema was well designed for the

audience's focus on a movie screen, the floor slope of the house for the

theatre had to be altered to give each audience member an unobstructed

view of the layers of activity on the stage. Figure 46 compares the

existing profile, ideal profiles for aligned and staggered seating, and

the seating profile used in the final design.7 Neither ideal profiles

7Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, pp. 69-71.


Figure 43. Theatre plan.

0 4 8



Figure 44. Theatre perspective.


(a) Transverse section

(b) Longitudinal section

Figure 45. Projection bootn.



could be used as their last rows of seats were too high with respect to

the balcony soffit. An alternative design solution for the seating

(figure 47) was rejected because it further reduced the seating capacity.

With the seating plan established, it was then possible, using

geometric acoustics as described by Rettinger and Kinzey, to determine

the paths of first wave reflected sound.8 The ceiling planes were

angled to reflect the sound to the rear of the house (figure 48a). The

flat portion of the ceiling was far enough from the stage that the sound

would not be reflected directly down on the audience but absorbed or

diffused by the rear wall (figure 48b).

Ham states that a volume of 27 cubic meters (105 cubic feet) per

audience seat gives about the right amount of total absorption to pro-

vide a satisfactory reverberation time for ideal speech conditions.9

For an audience of 350 seats, the volume of the auditorium should be

approximately 36,750 cubic feet. Since the new theatre in the Riviera

is two and one-half times that volume and cannot be reduced, it is

obvious that additional absorptive materials would have to be intro-


Table 4 shows the reverberation calculation for the theatre

resulting in figures of 1.35, 1.2 and 1.1 seconds for 125, 500, and

2000 Hz respectively. The optimum time for speech in a theatre of

100,000 cubic feet is .92 seconds at 500 Hz.10 At 125 Hz, an increase

8Michael Rettinger, Applied Architectural Acoustics (Brooklyn:
Chemical Publishing Co., 1947), pp. 10-29; Kinzey, Environmental
Technologies, pp. 326-329.

9Roderick Ham, ed., Theatre Planning (London: London Architectural
Press for the Association of British Theatre Technicians, 1972), p. 39.

10Kinzey, pp. 359-360.

Figure 46.

Comparison of ideal and final seating profiles for
the orchestra.

Figure 47. Alternate seating plan for the orchestra.


Figure 48. Development of ceiling planes by geometric acoustics.



125 Hz 500 Hz 2000 Hz
Surface and Materials S
(sq ft) So < So T So< Auth.

Aisles, heavy carpet, 40 oz on
padding 700 .10 70.0 .60 420.0 .80 560.0 a
Audience 1700 .60 1020.0 .88 1496.0 .93 1581.0 a
Stage softwood 525 .05 26.3 .03 15.8 .03 15.8 a

Side Walls
Plaster, smooth fin. on lath 1480 .02 29.6 .03 44.4 .04 59.2 a
Acousti-Celotex, 1I" on lath 870 .25 217.5 .99 861.3 .58 504.6 b
Wainscoting, wood panel on studs 240 .11 26.4 .12 28.8 .10 24.0 b

Stage Side Walls
Wood panel on studs 770 .11 84.7 .12 92.4 .10 77.0 b

Rear Wall
Balcony face, plaster on lath 100 .04 4.0 .06 6.0 .05 5.0 a
Balcony face, sides, vibrating
panels 130 .70 91.0 .25 32.5 .18 23.4 c
Under balcony, vibrating panels 385 .70 269.5 .25 96.3 .18 69.3 c
Above balcony, center vibrating
panels 200 .25 105.0 .99 415.8 .81 340.2 b
Above balcony, sides plaster on
lath 260 .04 772.5 .10 309.0 .05 154.5 c

Table 4 (continued)

125 Hz 500 Hz 2000 Hz

Surface and Materials S ~ SN j Sp Sc< Auth.
(sq ft)

Plaster, suspended, smooth fin. 3090 .25 772.5 .10 309.0 .05 154.5 c

Stage Opening 705 .30 211.5 .40 282.0 .50 352.5 b

lS 11,520

2S; 3190.7 4167.4 3816.0

=a;So .277 .362 .331

-2.30 log10(l- R) .3240 .3882 .4015

S(-2.30 log10(l-<)) 3732.0 4472.0 4625.0

(Volume = 98,000 cuft) 1.35 1.2 1.1 d

aKinzey, pp. 340-41.
bKnudsen, pp. 406-26.
cFurrer, pp. 66-70.
Kinzey, pp. 332-33.


of 50 percent needed to support the lower sound pressure levels gives

an optimum reverberation time of 1:24 seconds. Inasmuch as the absorb-

tion coefficients used for many of the surfaces were approximations or

were based on ideal experimental conditions, the reverberation times

arrived at were entirely acceptable.

Sound-absorptive materials were used selectively through the

theatre to obtain the desired reverberation times. The Celotex panels

in the side walls, very absorptive in the higher frequencies but less

absorptive in the lower, were retained.11 In order to correct the

peeling paint and plaster on the damp auditorium walls, an air cavity

would have to be created by furring out of the Wall surface. The

plaster pilasters and decorative panels would have to be carefully

removed following procedures for restoration of fresco surfaces. The

change in the mounting of the plaster and acoustical tile would result

in different absorption coefficients than those used for the same sur-

faces in Tables 1 and 2. Higher frequency sounds such as applause and

high-pitched laughter would be absorbed by the Celotex tile, helping

eliminate the problem of standing wave of flutter echo generation. In

order to reduce the reverberation time at the lower frequencies, to avoid

a "booming" quality, freely vibrating panels were used on approximately
60 percent of the rear wall, under the balcony and on the center portion.

11The flammability of the cane fibre tiles was questioned. The
panels could be flameproofed as are stage sets with either a 40 percent
solution of sodium silicate or with a solution of 1 lb sodium tetraborate
(Borzx) and 1 lb ammonium chloride in 3 qts of water. Samuel Selden and
Huton D. Sellman, Stage Scenery and Lighting, 3d ed. (New York: Appleton-
Century-Crofts, 1959), pp. 40-41.
12Willi Furrer, Room and Building Acoustics and Noise Abatement,
trans. Evelyn R. Robinson and Peter Lord (Washington: Butterworths,
1964), pp. 66-68.


Because of heat generated by the light instrument, perforated metal

acoustical panels surrounded by plaster on lath were located on the side

sections of the rear wall. Sound reflective surfaces were used on the

new ceiling and wall sections. The resulting reflections at high and

low frequencies are graphically represented in figure 49.

Stage lighting from the house was provided from two ceiling slots

between the reflective ceiling panels, two sidewall slots on the side

walls above the exit doors, and three light pipes on either side of the

rear wall.13 Light instruments on the rear wall would be focused

through removable panels in the control booth wall.

There was sufficient vertical space above the balcony front for a

two level control booth. The projection booth was located on the lower

level, providing a projection angle of eight degrees.14 The projection

booth would be ventilated separately to the exterior through the theatre

return air chase. The control booth was located in the center of the

upper level with follow spot positions on either side. Because of the

longitudinal steel in the balcony structure which interfered with stair

clearance and because of the limited space, a circular stair to the

booths was used, conforming to egress requirements for circular stairs

in Section 1115.3 of the Standard Building Code. A second exit, opening

into the cinema was provided.

13Burris-Meyer, Theatres and Auditoriums, pp. 259-272.

14Schlanger, "Movie Theatres," p. 1119.

_- ----- Z Z-t
N- .-

j- -7 ~-- -- o

(a) 125 Hz

e-y 21 --,, .. ... ir-. -s

(b) 500 and 2000 Hz

Figure 49. Absorbtion and reflection of high and
low frequency sound.


The Stage and Backstage Spaces

In order to give some flexibility to the stage, to provide for set

changes, the stage was designed with a large revolve. The major acting

area would be located just in front of the proscenium opening. Openings

for side entrances for the actors were located on the side walls.

Safety provisions for the stage in Sections 404.10 and 404.11 of

the Standard Building Code require the location of a ventilator on the

roof of the stage. Since the Riviera stage ceiling is very low, it

would be necessary to select a ventilator with increased sound insulation

properties. Because the fly space is shallow, it was impossible to

design a fire curtain to hang behind the proscenium opening. The fire

curtain is required by code in order to keep smoke from a backstage fire

from billowing into the house. It is possible that with the limited

functioning of the stage and with use of sprinklers throughout, a vari-

ance might be obtained. In any case, all stage sets and properties would

have to be flameproofed.

In designing the scene shop, the location of the existing service

door and the rear door to the stage was considered. An exit onto the

alley was opened and that portion of the alley made level to facilitate

the movement of set pieces to the stage. The passage would be sheltered

by the second floor bridge. Storage space was made as large as possible,

and it was evident that any unclaimed space would eventually be used for


The second floor plan was organized around the need for clear circu-

lation from the dressing rooms to the stairs and onto the stage. As with

the scene shop, the provision for storage was a priority.

The connection between the two buildings provided an opportunity for

design of a facade element compatible with the existing facades. The


Prop &Set


r4 8 16ft.

Figure 50. Scene shop plan.






0 4 8 16ft.
Figure 51. Costume shop and dressing room plan.

shop building, as it was originally designed and built, had a front

elevation decorated with terra cotta tile, glass block and matched

marble panels. In a recent renovation, the facade details were covered

completely with stucco. To complete the composition of the Market

Street elevation, the shop building requires a certain level of detail

to balance the highly articulated front portion of the Riviera. As it

would be impossible to remove the stucco without damaging the underlying

brick, the new renovation would use a surface treatment of tinted scored

stucco to suggest the original detail.

The bridge would be constructed of the same cream brick of the

facades. Glass block, coordinating with the grid pattern of the shop

facade, would be used on the addition as well as in the recessed brick

panels on the north and south walls of the backstage space.

The Production Offices

The program for the production offices above the lobby allowed a

more playful design solution. The plan of the theatre was an inspiration

for the design of the central conference space, thus pilasters became

decorated partitions between side spaces off the main space. Carrels

were located along the windows opposite a small script and research

library. Offices for the directors were located in a "backstage" posi-

tion behind the lectern on the raised end platform.

The ceiling was returned to its original height which enabled the

use of indirect lighting above the sculpted partitions. A new stair was

provided from the offices to the roof.