I was interested in questioning the way movie theaters are designed and the way we watch movies in the 21st century, mainly because I hate going to the movie theaters and would rather watch something at home. This provoked a question: Why would anyone actually want to go to the movie theater when they could watch a movie at home, where they can be free, on the couch or bed, in their pajamas or nothing at all, with whomever they want or no one at all, eating whatever they want, and not sitting in an ugly, poorly designed multiplex franchise theater? Its a good question - one that we as architects should be asking ourselves about this relatively new typology. In fact, the movie theater typology was taken from the vaudeville and opera theaters of the past, with the only change being that of a screen and projector room. Perhaps its time for a more thoughtful approach.
I'm not saying that my building answers the question, but I hope its a start. Or at the very least a conversation opener about the subject.
Our given program was to design a film house. Its requirements were to include indoor and outdoor movie theaters, cafe/restaurant space, retail space, administrative space, a film archive, and any other components we might want to add. The way we interpreted the program was left open.
1. Communal Theater - most similar to a traditional movie theater, with opportunities to move the furniture around and create clusters of seats. Seats include couches of varying sizes and armchairs.
2. Garden Theater - An outdoor theater, enclosed by walls, situated in a garden.
3. Private Party Theaters - A series of smaller spaces, each for 8-10 people, to be used for private parties.
4. Restaurant/Video Art Theater - A restaurant whose walls are used for the display of video art.
5. Private Bedroom Theaters - A series of bedroom sized spaces for spending the night, watching movies in the room, with balconies overlooking the communal theater.