The presentation includes basic fundamentals to keep in mind while designing an Auditorium.
• National Building Code (NBC),
• Time Saver Standards-Building Types (TSS),
• IS Code - is.2526.1963
• An enclosure, covered or open, where people can assemble for watching a performance
given on the stage.
• An auditorium is a room built to enable an audience to hear and watch performances at
venues such as theatres.
Types of Auditoriums:-
• ARENA THEATRE
Auditoriums with audience
surrounded on all sides.
• PROSCENIUM THEATRE
Auditoriums with audience only
on the front sides.
• FLEXIBLE THEATRE
Auditoriums with flexible stage
and seating arrangement.
• THRUST THEATRE
Auditoriums with audience
surrounded on three sides.
Parts of Auditorium
TERMS USED IN AUDITORIUM
PROSCENIUM: A proscenium is the area of a theatre surrounding the stage opening. A
proscenium arch is the arch over this area. A proscenium plane divides the performer and
HOUSE: It is the main seating area.
GANGWAYS: A passage between two rows of seats. The minimum gangway should be 1100
AISLE: The walkway between each area, row of seats to permit ease of passage. (>=45 mm)
DROP STAGE: A stage floor that moves vertically on an elevator usually so that one set can
quickly replace another.
TORMENTOR: A curtain or framed structure used directly behind the proscenium at each
side of the stage to screen the wings & sidelights from the audience.
APRON: The part of the stage floor in front of curtain line.
ORCHESTRA PIT: The space reserved for musicians usually in front.
BALCONY: A gallery that projects over the main floor of a theatre.
WING: The platform adjacent to the stage for keeping props.
BOX OFFICE: Where tickets are sold.
CYCLORAMA: It is the exterior of the backdrop. It is basically a distinction between backstage
& main stage.
FIRE CURTAIN: A curtain or asbestos or other fire-proof material that can be lowered just
inside the proscenium arch in case of fire.
GREEN ROOM: The green room is the space in a theatre, studio or similar venue which
functions as a waiting room and lounge for performers before and after a performance, and
during the show when they are not engaged on stage.
General Principles of Design:-
• The choice of site for an auditorium is
governed by several factors which may be
mutually conflicting, but a compromise
has to be struck between the various
considerations involved. The problem of
noise is an important consideration.
• In fact, the quietest possible condition
should be provided so that intelligibility
of speech does not suffer and even soft
passages of music are heard..
1. Site Selection and Planning
• When air-conditioning is provided special care should be taken to attenuate the
plant noise and the grill noise. For this purpose plant should be suitably isolated and
ducts as well as the plenum should be so designed that noise gets adequately
reduced so as to be within the permissible limits.
• The size should be fixed
in relation to the number
of audience required to be
• The floor area of the hall
(excluding the stage)
should be calculated on
the basis of 0.6 to 0.9 sq.
m per person.
• The height of the hall is
determined by such
ventilation, presence (or
absence) of balcony and
the type of performance.
2. Size and Shape
The average height may vary from 6 m for small
halls to 7·5 m for large halls.
• Ceiling may be flat but it is preferable to provide a slight increase in the height near the
centre of hall.
• The volume per person required to be provided should normally range between 3·5 to 5.5
• Suitable volumes for different types of auditoriums are given below but it is recommended
that higher values be adopted only in special cases:
Cubic Metres per Person
a) Public lecture halls 3·0 to 4.5
b) Cinemas or theatre 4.0 to 5·0
c) Musical hall. or concert halls 4.0 to 5.5
In the case of (c), the upper limit is suitable for musical performances while the lower limit
may be chosen in the case of small general purpose auditoriums.
Floor plans of various shapes are used, but the one which is considered to give
satisfactory results without introducing complications in the acoustical treatment of the
hall is the FAN-SHAPED PLAN.
a. The proscenium may bear any suitable ratio with the height of the hall to suit stage
requirements and considerations of visibility.
b. The side walls should be arranged to have an angle of not more than 100 degrees
with the curtain line. In the case of talking pictures synchronisation of sound with lip
movement is most essential.
c. Also, in the case of theatres a person with normal vision should be able to discern
facial expressions of the performers.
In order to satisfy these conditions, it is recommended that the distance of the
farthest seat from the curtain line should not normally exceed 23 metres.
Different Shapes of Halls
1. Concentric seating is found
to be more efficient in
auditoriums instead of
straight linear seating.
2. Multiple Aisle System of
seating is found to be more
• The auditorium rear walls) should
be either flat or convex in shape.
• This should not be concave in
shape, but where it cannot be
avoided, the acoustical design shall
indicate either the surface to be
splayed or convex corrugations
given in order to avoid any tendency
for the sound to focus into the hall.
• Where the side walls are non-parallel as in the case of a fan-shaped hall, the walls may
remain reflective and may be architecturally finished in any manner required, if sound
absorbing material is not required from other considerations.
• Where the side walls are parallel they may be left untreated to a length of about 7.5 m
from the proscenium end. In addition, any of the surfaces, likely to cause a delayed echo or
flutter echo should be appropriately treated with a sound absorbing material. Difference
between the direct path and the path reflected from aide wall. shall not exceed 15m.
• For good visibility as also for good listening conditions, the successive rows of seats
have to r be raised over the preceding ones with the result that the floor level rises
towards the rear.
• The elevation is based on the principle that each listener shall be elevated with
respect to the person immediately in front of him so that the listener's head is about 12
cm above the path of sound which would pass over the head of the person in front of
him. It is possible to reduce this to 8 cm, if the seats are staggered.
• As an empirical rule the angle of elevation of the inclined floor in an auditorium should
not be less than 8 degrees.
The size of the stage depends upon the type of performance the hall is to cater for. It
would be large for theatres, while it would be comparatively small for cinema halls which
again depends on the size of the screen.
PROPORTIONS OF AN AUDITORIUM
• These are obtained from
perception and viewing angles,
as well as requirement for
good view from all seats .
• Head movement should be
acc. To the following:-
• 30 - No movement
• 60 - Slight eye movement
• 110 - Slight eye and head
• 150 - Head movement 90
• 360 - Full head and shoulder
• SEATING CAPACITY:
It depends on the format selected.
• LENGTH OF ROWS:
Max. no. of 16 seats per aisle. 25 seats per aisle is
permissible if one side exit door of 1m width is
provided per 3-4 rows.
• EXIT , ESCAPE ROUTES :
1m wide per 150 people (min. width .8m)
• A sightline, sight line or visual axis, is a
normally unobstructed line-of-sight
between an intended observer (or
spectator) and a stage, arena, or
• For example. Sightlines are a particularly
important consideration in theatre and
stadium design, road junction layout and
• In cities such as London, construction
within sightlines is restricted to protect
the key views of famous landmarks.
The seats should be
arranged in concentric
arcs of circles drawn
with the centre located
as much behind the
centre of the curtain
line as its distance from
the auditorium rear
• Important factor in the auditorium design
are clear and unobstructed sight lines to
the screen, the vertical position of the
screen being one of the controlling
• To provide best visibility from any seat, no
patron should sit exactly in front of any
• Staggering is accomplished by the non-
uniform placement of seats varying width
in succeeding rows.
Sight lines in Staggered seating
All dimensions in mm.
Minimum two mandatory
wheelchair spaces are to
be provided for physically
• The area of a theatre not open to
the public, where the performance is
• It mainly includes green room with
attached toilets, rehearsal rooms,
workshops and a store room.
• Its size is based on the scale of stage
and how many performers have to be
SERVICES IN AUDITORIUM
• Stage lighting
• Light control
• Curtain system-motorised &
• Cyclorama screen
• Escape and exit route
1.Stage Fire Protection
• A fire curtain or water curtain is to be provided to contain smoke/fire
within the stage.
• The fire curtain is required to be designed and installed to
prevent a glow from a fire being visible to the audience.
• The curtain is required to be activated by rate-of-rise heat detectors
operating at a temperature rise of 15 to 20 °F per minute (9 to 11 °C
per minute) and by manual operation.
• Sprinklers are required to be provided under a roof. If galleries
over the stage are more than 4 feet in width, the sprinklers must be
provided over the stage.
• It is noted that these requirements are not required
for the stages in which the stage area is 1000 ft² (93 m²) or less, the stage
height is 50 ft or less, and curtains, scenery, or other combustible hangings
are not retractable vertically.
3. Fire and Life Safety Proper:
Notification systems, lighting, and signage are required to facilitate safe and speedy
evacuations during an emergency in the Auditorium spaces. Step lights recessed into
floor risers at each seating tier and wall mounted low light level sconce lights along
side walls are typical. Sprinklers should be provided per code and under stage
platforms to suppress fires
4. Raised Floor :
The recommended system for distribution of HVAC in auditorium spaces is ducted
supply through floor vents with ducted ceiling return air vents in auditorium and
lobby. In other spaces, ducted ceiling supply with return air ceiling plenum is
recommended. Note that there should be transfer ducts at all acoustically rated
5. Stage Ventilation
• The requirements with regard to stage ventilation for stages greater than
50 feet in height or larger in area than 1000 ft² are as follows:
Natural means of exhaust
• Two or more roof vents are required to be provided;
• Aggregate clear area of the openings is to be no less than 5% of the stage
• Vents are required to be located near the center and above the highest part
of the stage area;
• The vents are to be activated by heat-activated devices and by manual
Mechanical means of exhaust
• A mechanical exhaust system is to be activated by the operation of
protecting the stage and manual means that are readily accessible to the fire
• A smoke layer must be maintained at greater than 6 ft above the highest
level of the
seating or maintained above the top of the proscenium opening
A high quality acoustical treatment offers clarity to the original sound thus the
quality of sound remains uniform throughout the auditorium and every audience
sitting there get to hear the best quality sound regardless of his or her seating
Use of Acoustical Panels For Soundproofing Of Auditorium
Soundproofing in an auditorium can be obtained by using wall and ceiling sound panels.
Acoustical panels offer great results by absorbing the reflections and echoes within the
auditorium, thus producing the better quality of sound.
Another soundproofing product that is diffusion panel can also provide a great deal of
help in dispersing the reflected sound waves to bring out a balance among the live and
dead spots in the room.
The materials generally used may be broadly
classified into the following categories:
a) Acoustic plaster (a plaster which includes
granulated insulation material with cement };
b) Compressed cane or wood fibreboard,
unperforated and perforated;
c) Wood particle board;
d) Compressed wood woo);
e) Mineral/glass wool quilts and mats;
f) Mineral/compressed glass wool tiles;
g) Composite units of perforated hardboard
backed by perforated fibreboard;
h) Composite units of perforated board
(hardboard, asbestos board or metal sheet)
backed by mineral or glass wool quilt or _ slab;
i) Special absorbers constructed of hardboard,
teak ply, etc, backed by air.
Sound Insulation Materials used in Auditoriums