A well-designed auditorium can be used for a variety of functions, from a theatrical production to a guest lecture. There are certain considerations that should be paramount, no matter what use is to be made of the space. These considerations are centred around optimising the experience of the audience.
Everything from choosing the right seating to minimising sound interference and ensuring optimum visibility of the stage area, is connected with ensuring that people remember their visit to the auditorium for the right reasons.
The most important thing to ensure, when it comes to seating for an auditorium, is comfort. This means that people need to feel supported by the seat they are sitting on, without it being too hard. They also need to have enough room for their legs in front of the seat, and for their arms at their sides. If people do not feel comfortable where they are sitting, they cannot enjoy the event they have come to watch.
On the other hand, auditorium seating is not intended to be comfortable in the same way that an armchair in the home is. You do not want the audience members to curl up and fall asleep. You want them to have a supportive place to sit that is not uncomfortable but is not designed to fully relax them as they need to remain alert, to enjoy the experience.
All auditoriums should have seating that is ascending, so that everyone in the audience gets a good view of the stage. Shallow ascending seating is often a good choice when an auditorium is mostly to be used for events such as lectures, as this type of seating arrangement enables enhanced audience participation.
On the other hand, steeper ascending seating has a more modern and stylish look. It also ensures that the maximum amount of people have an optimum view of the stage area. This is often an ideal choice of seating design for auditoriums that will mostly be used for staging drama productions or concerts.
Great sound is just as important as a good view in an auditorium. No audience is going to be impressed if they can only hear muffled sounds, or if their audio experience is spoiled by sound disturbance.
When designing the sound system for an auditorium, it's important to conduct a noise measurement study, so that the impact of any noises within, or outside, the building can be assessed. This helps to determine how the auditorium is acoustically treated. This normally happens to all sides of the auditorium and is intended to optimise the acoustic clarity of the space. It's often a good idea to call in an acoustics experts to make sure that this work is carried out effectively.
The lighting in an auditorium helps to set the mood. It can also be used to enhance the safety of the audience, by the use of track lighting so that people can see their way to and from their seats when the main lights are down. Anyone who is designing an auditorium should think about using a variety of different lighting solutions.
• Wash lights.
• Track lighting.
• Main auditorium lighting.
Having different types of lighting available helps to optimise the audience experience.
So far, we have looked at the individual aspects of designing an auditorium. It's also important to consider what type of overall design is the right choice. For instance, an auditorium that is going to play host to lectures, or modern artistic productions may be best suited to a minimalist or industrial design. More traditional auditoriums are often designed to be highly feature orientated, with intricate styling. This is the ideal choice for a venue that plays host to traditional plays and musicals.
Whatever the overall design is, the audience experience should always be paramount. This may involve the choice of bespoke seating. This type of seating is often the best fit with an overall design theme, while providing the required level of comfort. Remember that every audience member needs to be comfortable without being too relaxed, be able to see the stage as well as well as possible and be able to hear what is being said. Well-designed seating, lighting and accoustics all come together to make this happen, and to make it more likely that people will return to an auditorium in the future.