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selected works/design/
sensory cinema

Critic - Clay Odom  | Spring 2016

A traditional theatre is often a collection of boring spaces that support the main theatre program, but by flipping this relationship, a sensory theatre becomes a collection of spatial effects based on the programs happening inside the spaces.

By combining this approach with a site that can only grow vertically, this project also investigates how the traditional horizontal vernacular of cinema buildings can be adapted to a dense urban environment.

The effects generated for the sensory theatre are directly related and engage the user through the interaction of light which responds to movement, and sound generated in the spaces. The generation of these effects was driven by both precedent studies and analytical diagramswhich mapped out a “typical” theater and thevarious forces affecting it.
These ideas culminated in a prototypical adaptive re-use investigation that proposed anurban cinema in Austin’s prominent downtown music district. Within, the “effect” application isseparated into three conditions: wall, floor/ceiling,and solid/void.

“The result was a vertical cinema that
challenges the typical conventions of a
suburban theater.”
By utilizing an existing building for this exploration, there was an inherent challenge to makeeverything fit. Without detailed drawings of the existing structure, assumptions had to bemade, but close estimates, even down to structural elements were still made. This allowed thedifferent modular programs to simply stack on top of each other and be connected throughvarious paths. The result was a vertical cinema that challenges the typical conventions ofa suburban theater that is laid out horizontally.

The project’s focus on exploring the interstitialand supportive spaces of a theatre allow
users to be immersed in a dynamic experiencebefore they even start watching the movie. Furthermore, these spaces also investigatethe possibility of adaptive programs and spaces available to the public outsidethe operational hours of a cinema, such as a ground level and rooftop amphitheater thatcan host cultural events and art installations.

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