DESIGN GUIDE: MUSIC AND DRAMA CENTERS
C H A P T E R 3: ACCESSORY EQUIPMENT
Chamber music and small ensembles
a. Legitimate Drama:
would not suffer greatly if some adjust-
ment were made, especially at the stage
Skillful lighting and backdrop design can
Similar concerns of 650 seat Music, with-
mitigate apparent distortion of human
out benefit of Open Stage suspended grid.
Existence of balcony improves potential
The Room is slightly large for recital inti-
for Dance, although house size would
macy, and too reverberant (1.4-1.6 sec-
mean extreme distance from rear seats.
Extension into audience would be more
feasible, especially with 3-side balcony,
but extension introduces problems of en-
Provision of stagehouse and pit essential
try of dancers, stage lighting, and reorient-
ing fixed seats. Not likely except for "rug
Operatic drama begs for a flyloft, deep
concert" seatless occasions.
stage and generous orchestra pit. Operatic
drama also fares better with shorter sight-
c. Musical Drama:
lines and more intimacy than afforded by
Provision of stagehouse and pit (4500 s.f.)
the plan described. This typically leads to
the high, tiered horseshoe plan.
Stagehouse accommodations may dis-
Serious consideration of opera would be-
pense with flyloft if generous offstage and
gin at this capacity normally, in particular
wingspace is included. This means com-
"intimate" opera as opposed to Wagner-
promise of primary use by requirement of
demountable orchestra shell.
Treated as light opera, Musical Drama con-
Orchestra pit is essential for reasonably
siderations would apply with somewhat
unobstructed vision and Drama lighting
less success dramatically, but better per-
Reverberation time should be cut drasti-
If serious effort is to be devoted to opera,
cally. Introduction of sufficient absorption
consider designing the Room for it, since
will select out mid and high frequencies,
opera criteria combine requirements for
resulting in a weak, unnatural voice qual-
orchestral Music and large scale Drama.
ity. Selective sound reinforcement would
House size and viewing distance sightlines
acceptable for infrequent Musical Drama
use, or Broadway revues.
50 musicians and 200 voices could occupy
the stage described, without pit.
Accessory equipment includes fixed and move-
With an extended stage for more musi-
able devices, fittings, scenic properties, draper-
cians, large works (Beethoven's Ninth
ies, rigging and control systems that are desir-
Symphony) are possible.
able and often necessary to each performance
With 50 musicians in an 800 s.f. pit, major
type. Equipment design cannot be separated
choral works for 350 voices might be
from or sequential to the Room design; it should
not be thought of as "added to" the building.
Acoustical design and theater stage technology
Reverberation time would be just right
are subjects for specialized technical consultants.
(1.7-2.0 seconds desirable).
The architect's role is to coordinate consultants'
efforts with the concerns of using service and