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CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Serialised in The Building News and Engineering Journal from 1895

Introduction - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23 - Chapter 24 - Chapter 25 - Chapter 26 - Chapter 27 - Chapter 28 - Chapter 29 - Chapter 30 - Chapter 31 - Chapter 32

 

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS.

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 22

Images begin again at Fig 1

The provincial music-hall demands as much attention as the London theatre of varieties, and some fine examples are to be found among the wretched places which are scattered broadcast over the whole of the country towns of Great Britain. The ordinary provincial music-hall is too dreadful to think about; as a rule it is extremely dangerous from a fireman's point of view, it is vulgar in treatment, ill ventilated, badly lighted, and generally a place to be avoided.

I have said that there are some fine examples to be found, and one of the best is undoubtedly Messrs. Darbyshire and Smith's building in Manchester, the Palace of Varieties. Figs. 1 and 2.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Here the architects were guided by the initial condition of safety - namely, isolation, and the Palace stands in an open space. On the ground to the left, away from the hall, are placed the dangerous elements of a hall - the lime-light tanks, electrical plant, carpenters' shop, and workshops. The general arrangement of the plans is symmetrical, and the simplicity of the arrangement of exits from each tier shows that the designers were well aware of the advantage of having both sides of the house arranged alike. There are no tricks in this plan; it is one that can be taken in by the audience at a glance, and a building in which they would therefore feel safe.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The general scheme of the plan has been governed by the old Greek form of the semicircle, which brings the seated audience nearer the stage, and allows for the addition of a wide promenade behind the seats, a provision almost essential in this class of building. On examining the section, Fig. 3, it will be seen that a large foyer extends the entire length of the back of the auditory. This is slightly raised above the heads of the promenaders, so that occupants of the foyer have a full view of the performance.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Fig. 4 is a perspective view of the auditorium. The ceiling is a cove in form, surmounted by an elliptical dome 60ft. above the area floor. The auditorium is 90ft. wide and 66ft. deep. The stage is large enough for the production of the most luxurious spectacle or ballet, being 66ft. by 40ft., with a proscenium opening 36ft. wide by 32ft. 10in. in height. The highest point the audience can reach from the street is 33ft. 6in. The cost of the building was a little over £40,000, and the seating accommodation is for 3,078 persons. The construction is fire-resisting, the tiers being made of concrete upon steel cantilevers, so that no columns come between the seated audience and the stage.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Figs. 5, 6, and 7 are of the Bristol Empire, a provincial music-hall of a smaller type than the Manchester Palace, but one none the less important, as representing a class rapidly increasing provincial towns to supplant the dangerous structures which have done duty in the past. Messrs. Wylson and Long are the architects of his hall, which was originally intended to include circus, as shown upon the plan, Fig. 5. where the ring is formed by removing a portion of the stage. This intention was, however, subsequently abandoned.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

There is a large pit or area floor, as being the part most frequented in places of this kind. The area is 81ft. 3in. deep by 52ft. wide; from this part there are four exits. Immediately over the pit is the balcony, consisting of six rows of seats, with promenade and raised buffet in the rear; above this is the gallery. The Empire is said to be one of the best music-halls of its class in the provinces, and the architects have designed it in an appropriate Free Oriental style, which readily adapts itself to the internal and external decoration of the building, the colour scheme of the auditorium being in warm tints, in which red and blue predominate The size of the stage is 32ft. wide, with a depth of 32ft. The holding capacity of the auditorium is 1,376 persons, seated as follows : Pit 338, stalls 218, balcony 246, gallery 542, private boxes 32.

These two examples, I think, will suffice to show the character of building which is now being erected in the provinces as a music-hall. They differ in many respects, the one having an auditorium nearly square on plan, while the other is an oblong. The one may be truly included in the type of theatres of variety, while the other is essentially a music-hall of the better class.

My next illustrations, Figs. 8 and 9, are of the Palace Theatre, London. It might be argued that, being built as an opera-house, this is not a music-hall. Yet I include this house in my series, to see what useful lessons we can gather from the fact that a house built for one purpose has been used for another.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The Palace Theatre stands almost alone as a place of entertainment where a music-hall performance is given. In spite of descending from an opera-house to a music-hall through changes of fortune, it has maintained a character which the beauty of the building demands. There is nothing vulgar in the surroundings of the Palace. As a music-hall the building has its defects.

There is not sufficient room to move about, there is unfortunately no promenade, thanks to the authorities, and the communication between the tiers is not what one would demand in designing a music-hall on the same scale. As an opera-house, its one great and fatal defect was the smallness of the stage, which did not allow the constant change of scenery demanded in opera-houses. The lack of room meant increased labour in mounting and unmounting the scenery, and the expenses spelt ruin to the undertaking. So now we have the palace as an assembly hall for variety entertainment. I do not agree with some that the Palace was too good a building to be turned into a music-hall, but in many respects it is inappropriate because designed for another purpose. Its excellence in design is not lost, but its lack of accommodation for a moving audience is manifest, and this is perhaps greatly due to the licensing authorities. My argument that a beautifully designed building will influence the class of the audience is confirmed by the example of the Palace. Here alone a great lesson can be learned: that it is worth while for both the architect and the clients to put forth every effort when designing these buildings; it is time and money well invested.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The licensing laws appertaining to music-halls are, for the most part, a survival of very old legislation, which is not at all applicable to the present state of society. Architects practising in this class of building are at the necessity of studying the laws of licensing and the ways of the various authorities who issue these licenses.

Music-halls have to be designed in accordance with the requirements of the licensing bodies, and it is because of the tendency these have towards faddism that proprietors prefer the licensing being in the hands of permanent justices whose views on these matters are not likely to change from year to year.

It is extremely difficult for an architect to design a building to please an authority whose views change with each triennial election, and even oftener. One year he may find it possible to build the music-hall with extensive promenades and refreshment bar, &c., on every tier, while the very next year, if he were to make the same application, he would be promptly refused. There is great variation in the rules which govern these demands, as in one place a promenade will be permitted, while in another it is forbidden.

The obtaining of a music license for a music-hall does not carry with it the Excise license. The proprietor has not only to obtain the music license, but from another body he has to obtain the drink license. In the theatre this is different, as the license granted for the holding of stage plays covers also the right of a license for the sale of intoxicating liquor for the refreshment of the audience who come to witness the play during the time the theatre is open. Some people think that because a theatre has an Excise license liquor can be sold there at all times in the same manner as in a public-house; this is not the case , intoxicating liquor can be sold only to people attending the performances.

In music-halls the license is continuous, as we have seen a public-house often forming a part of the hall, and perhaps being the original cause of the erection of the hall. Another point which may interest architects in reference to licensing matters, which is suggested by the above remarks, is that when an addition is made to a licensed building it is not necessary to apply for a new license, but merely to place the plans before the magistrate, and ask him for an extension of the existing license, a very much easier thing to obtain than a new one. When the license is granted it embraces the whole of the building, and when it is enlarged the license grows with it, and if the plans are satisfactory the justices cannot refuse to grant the extension.

A curious case came before my notice a short time back, where an extension was being made to a theatre, and such extension was for workshop and office for the theatre. In the lease for the land upon which the block was to be erected was a clause inserted by the ground landlords to the effect that the land was not to be in any way used for the erection of a public-house. As the theatre held perforce an Excise license, the license had to embrace the addition as a natural consequence, and it was some time before the ground landlords could be made to see that this extension, although holding an Excise license, could not be used as a public-house, being part of a theatre. Of course, the lessee was powerless, as whether he liked it or not the license had to grow with his building.

Another and very important thing with regard to licensing matters which the architect should not forget, that where he is making alterations to a licensed premises, however small and unimportant the alterations matters not, he must deposit plans and obtain the consent of all authorities concerned, and he will find the authorities having a voice in the consent as numerous. Each of them will want a set of the drawings, and some of them will require duplicate sets, returning one set marked as approved. In a case which lately came under my notice, no less than six authorities had to be satisfied before a small addition could be made to a licensed building. The worst of it is that the various authorities do not always quite agree in their requirements. Such is the muddled state of our licensing laws.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 23

Images begin again at Fig 1

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AThe concert-hall and assembly-room, which is commonly called the music-hall, is to be found all over the world; but it will be found that each country has its own peculiar class of music-hall. The music-halls of the Continent are, as we understand them, distinct from theatres, but follow in most instances the form of the auditorium. In some cases theatres have been converted into music-halls, notably Ronacher's Variety Theatre, Vienna, which was formed from the old City Theatre after it was partly burnt down. The famous Continental theatre architects are Messrs. Feltner and Helmer, and it was from their designs that the old theatre was converted into Ronacher's Palace of Varieties. Figs. 1 and 2 represent the City Theatre before it was altered. The stage was cut off from the theatre, only a small portion being left for the music-hall, and the remainder was converted into an assembly-room, with entrances from the side. To make up the required depth for performances, the stage was advanced beyond the proscenium opening to a considerable extent, so that plenty of room is allowed for the purposes of a variety concert. The proscenium opening is surmounted by a canopy or sounding-board, in the same manner as our Alhambra Theatre.

The same famous Vienna firm of architects have carried out the Unter den Linden Theatre of Varieties in Berlin for the same proprietor, Mr. Ronacher. Figs. 3 and 4 are plans of the building, and Fig. 5 a view of the staircase. Fig. 6 is part of the elevation of the same building. (The last two illustrations have been taken from Sachs and Woodrow's work on " Modern Opera Houses and Theatres.")

The principal feature in the plan is the auditorium with its spacious promenade, which is on the highest tier, and affords an admirable view of the stage. This convenient feature is unusual to Berlin variety theatres, and has been borrowed from London and Vienna. The first tier is composed of half-open boxes, behind which are supper-rooms, while the area is taken up by seats and a minor promenade, from which latter, however, no view of the stage is obtainable. A grand staircase, of good proportions, leads to the tiers and promenade; but, besides these, there are staircases of ample dimensions for the use of the occupants of the tiers, in connection with which I would remark that it is not likely that they would be ever used in case of panic, since the spectators are certain to hasten to the grand staircase by which they came up. In plan it will be noticed how distinctly separate the auditorium is kept from the front of the block; but in the upper part of this front the Grand Foyer is situated, and can be approached from the main staircase, while the lower part is devoted to the restaurant.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The site of the Unter den Linden Theatre was only one part of a large piece of ground which was developed by a company. This plot has its main front, which is taken up by an hotel and restaurant towards the thoroughfare "Unter den Linden," and its rear front to the Behrenstrasse, which runs parallel to the main street, with the view of having an approach to the theatre from the main thoroughfare, as well as of complying with the regulation that requires the theatre proper to be free on all sides, and to have a way for carriages into the courtyards. A large passage was formed on one side of the site from "Unter den Linden " to Behrenstrasse, which was finally elaborated into a kind of arcade. It is, further, of interest to note that the theatre was erected at a time when Prussia had just come under very stringent regulations with regard to theatres, and the owners and the architects had many difficulties to overcome in complying with them, especially in approaching the authorities with a class of institution combining the dramatic entertainment and variety concert in a manner that had previously been unknown.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The establishment holds, in fact, the unique position in a city of the size of Berlin: it is the only variety theatre, in the proper sense of the word, the others being music-halls of a very different class, and from the architect's point of view, merely halls with a stage in them. Special credit is due to both architects and owners that they have made this building not only an elaborate one, and a gorgeously-decorated structure, but also one in which the decoration is of high architectural merit. There is nothing in the construction to call for special mention. In the decoration, however, we again meet the clever treatment of flat surfaces with light plastic work, which is so successful a feature in the Fenner and Helmer theatres. These architects have certain types in theatre building, this being their usual pattern of variety theatre, which they have repeated, for instance, at Buda-Pesth. The cost of this building, which will seat 2,500 persons, was £75,000.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Ventilation is a great feature in music-halls, as the dense cloud of tobacco-smoke must be carried off, and a hall must not be permitted to smell of stale smoke when an audience first enters. The most practical way of keeping a hall sweet is undoubtedly the sliding roof, which leaves the auditorium open to the sky on warm and fine nights, and is the means of ventilating and purifying the air in the hall during the day, when the roof can be removed. The only time when a sliding roof may be considered a disadvantage is when a sudden shower of rain comes on, and the occupaets of the stalls have to put up their umbrellas until such time as the roof can be wound back.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The usual way of forming the sliding roof is most simple. The dome or central portion of the roof is mounted like a big dish-cover upon wheels running upon metal rails. A steel rope is attached to one end of this huge dish-cover, and is passed over pulleys down to a crab on the stage level. When the roof has to be taken off, the attendant on the stage simply winds up the steel rope on the crab, and the roof travels along the rails. To replace it, a second rope is attached at the farthest end. This rope passes, like the other, down to the crab on the stage level, and when the crab is reversed it works the roof back over the opening. This is the most effectual way of ventilating a music-hall - in fact, no hall is perfect without a sliding roof, and many theatres would be vastly improved if they were provided with a similar means of purifying the air. The first sliding roof in London erected at the Canterbury Music-Hall, "over the water."

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 24

Images begin again at Fig 1

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AIn Germany the music-hall is frequently placed on the first-floor level, like the Cambridge Music-hall in London, which was so lately burnt down. This arrangement is never satisfactory, as it increases the danger to the public by placing them so much further from the street level than is necessary. An example of such a hall is the Rheichshalle in Berlin.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AThe Concordia Music-hall, Berlin, now better known as the Apollo Hall, is an assembly-hall in which smoking is allowed, which is devoted to many kinds of entertainment, dances, general assemblies, variety shows, spectacle ballets, &c. Figs. 1 and 2 are the ground and first-floor plans, and Fig. 3 the section showing the architectural treatment of the proscenium opening, and the proscenium private boxes.

This well-known Berlin music-hall, although chiefly devoted to variety entertainment, has been so arranged that it can easily be formed into a ball-room or assembly-hall. Although the present building was erected to take the place of an older one of a similar character on the same site, the treatment has been so little influenced by its predecessor that it may practically be regarded as the original conception of the talented architect, Mr. G. Ebe.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The assembly-hall proper does not front a street, the entrance passage-way, which is not shown upon the diagrams, Figs. 1 and 2, passing through another building. To the student of public building planning this does not commend itself; but the frontage of the hall is upon an inclosed courtyard or garden, although there are no exits at the sides or at the back of the hall. Between the entrance from the street and the hall, which is 28-50 metres long by 22.50 metres wide and 18 metres high, there is a garden, as I have already said, and this is a feature of the establishment and much frequented in the summer months, being easy of access from the auditorium. So much of the small available space has been taken up by the body of the hall that the stage is only 30ft. deep; this, however, is ample for the purpose for which the hall is intended, but would naturally be small for a theatre of equal proportions.

From the pillared vestibule containing the buffet there is an excellent view of the stage to be obtained, and this, considering the purpose for which it is used, is a most attractive feature in the building. In the colour scheme of the hall more restraint has been shown than in most buildings of a similar class; but the ornamentation and painted panels, especially of the ceiling, are most elaborate. The general scheme is ivory-white picked out with gold and blue. The decoration of the foyer, however, is very brilliant. Fig. 3 shows that there is true architectural treatment throughout the whole interior of the auditorium, especially over the stage opening and the adjoining stage-boxes.

Mr. G. Ebe, the architect, completed this building in 1894, at the cost of £25,000. Mr. Brandt, the celebrated stage engineer of the Royal Theatres, Berlin, designed the stage machinery, which is naturally limited, considering the purpose to which the hall is put. No stage effects are permitted, and the scenery which is used is all painted upon asbestos cloth. These precautions are taken to minimise the risk of fire, as the exits are not all that one would wish, although it is stated that the entrance from the street is sufficiently wide to allow a fire-engine to be driven right up to the hall, and yet leave room for a good stream of people to pass. Yet this is the only way out, and cannot be regarded as satisfactory, as it passes under another building before reaching the street. The stage-entrance for performers and musicians is by vaulted passages passing under the hall, as there is no means of access from the back. The ventilation has been carefully looked after, and the hall has, of course, been lighted by the electric light. The effect as the spectator enters by the vestibule is said to be most elaborate, being specially pleasing when the area floor is used as a ball-room. At the rear of the seating on the first floor are a number of saloons and supper-rooms; but the refreshment-bar is in the vestibule at the back of the seats on the area level.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

There is another type of German music-hall, as seen in the large hall or winter gardens of the Central Hotel, and to a certain extent the Flora Hall (Fig. 4) at Charlottenburg may be added to this class, for although in reality in connection with the Botanical Gardens, entertainments of all kinds are given in the building.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AOf the halls devoted to variety entertainment which are also in connection with hotels, the Pfauen Hall, Zurich (Fig. 5) is an example. This was erected by the architects, Messrs. Chiodera and Tchiodera, of Zurich, who had to build a hall of the auditorium type upon the smallest possible area without interfering in any way with the light and air of the surrounding buildings. As, however, as many spectators as possible had to be accommodated upon this limited area, as will be seen by the plan, a view of the stage is obtained from the foyer, and the stage is reduced in depth to its utmost limit.

Before concluding this important section of my articles, I have to make some reference to the essentially French music-hall, which I propose doing in my next number. In the meantime, I wish to impress upon my readers that I have not dwelt so fully upon the details of the planning of music-halls as I think the importance of the subject demands, because I have so recently in this journal fully described the methods that should be adopted in planning and constructing theatres. As to exits and fire protection, the same rules may be applied to both class of buildings; but with regard to the internal arrangement the demands are quite different. A theatre must have an auditorium for a seated audience desiring to remain quietly in their seats to witness the drama or opera. A music-hall must be arranged for a constantly moving audience, and there must, therefore, be wider passageways, a greater width between the rows of seats, wider gangways, and essentially a promenade. Again, there must be very different arrangements with regard to foyers and refreshment-rooms. There the authorities are not faddists, the refreshment-room should be so placed that a full view of the stage may be obtained. Another distinct feature of an assembly-hall of this type is the communicating staircases required between the various levels of the auditorium. The public like to be able to go from one level to another, and this can only be done in buildings where the want is met by good intercommunicating staircases. The L.C.C. rules insist that a staircase shall only serve one tier and not be entered by people at a lower level. This is, of course, with reference to the entrance and exit staircases, so what I have called the intercommunicating or promenade staircases must be in addition to these, or the authorities will not permit them.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 25

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Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AI have frequently had to refer in these papers to the excellence of the work of Messrs. Fenner and Helmer as specialists in theatrical architecture. The subject of the present chapter is one of their buildings erected in Buda-Pesth, which is used as an assembly hall of the music-hall type, and is known as the Somossy Orpheum. As is shown by the ground-plan, Fig. 1, this building is erected in such a way that it does not come under the regulations of a theatre, but merely as a place of public assembly, to be used as a music-hall.

This is drawing a fine line of difference between the theatre and the music-hall, which would not be permitted in this metropolis, as the regulations for the one are, to all intents and purposes, the same as for the other. Upon looking at the interior view (Fig. 3), it is perfectly clear that this building follows the lines of a theatre in form, as it consists of stage and auditorium with galleries.

It is true the music-hall has a different object to fulfill from that of a theatre, and that the architects had in this case to overcome the task set before them of providing spaces for eating and drinking, as well as for promenading and smoking lounges in addition to the seated auditory and stage. It is because of these features having to be added in close proximity to the auditorium that music-hall planning may be considered more complicated than theatre planning; for, in addition to seating the audience comfortably, the promenades must be so placed that those walking about will not disturb those seated, and yet the promenaders must have a view of the stage, and be able to see the performance over the heads of those seated.

Such we know were the problems placed before Messrs. Fenner and Helmer when they undertook the design of the Somossy Orpheum. The site is a most difficult one, there being only two small frontages to the streets, the rest of the site being long and narrow, and one would consider, from the outline, that it is most inappropriate for such a building. The auditorium and stage are very cleverly treated. The stage is placed at the angle formed by the two sections of the site, and the auditorium is placed with a centre line about 45° on either side of the street entrances. This was a most clever way of obtaining the greatest width and depth in the site for the auditorium, as in no other part of the land could such dimensions be procured.

The character of the entertainment does not, of course, necessitate a deep stage, so that the narrow portion at the angle was quite sufficient for the purpose required.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

A symmetrical and regular approach, 19ft. 6in. wide, forms the chief entrance from the Fellglasse. On either side of this approach are showcases, as seen in Fig. 4. By this means every available inch of space is made use of to bring in a revenue. The staircase leading from the vestibule, as is shown in the view given in Fig. 2, consists of two flights of stairs to the first landing, which then merge into one, leading to the first tier. The staircase continues upwards to the second tier, or gallery, and winter garden.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

On the ground floor there is also a winter garden and a large café. These are thrown open after the performance every evening. The parterre or area level is arranged with tables and chairs after the manner of the old-fashioned London music-halls. The first tier consists entirely of private boxes, which are, however, open at the back, and have no doors to inclose them, a rope merely being placed across the entrance. These are somewhat similar in arrangement to what used to be called the omnibus boxes in the London theatres frequented by our forefathers, the last survival of which was destroyed when the Pavilion Theatre, Whitechapel, was rebuilt last year. On the second tier are four rows of seats, with promenade and saloon in rear.

The interior perspective given in Fig. 3 fully shows these arrangements and more fully explains the character of the building than any other method. The decoration of this building is very elaborate; the figure painting is by the artists Gastgeb, Gartner, and Peifuss; the sculpture work is by Vogel, who was assisted by Dumbauer; the rest of the statuary and furniture is by Lott and Bros, Thouet respectively. There are private rooms leading from the balcony used as supper-rooms (as shown in Fig. 3). Of these, three are decorated in Moorish style, two in Rococo, two in Japanese, and one is Hungarian in treatment.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

In the corridor behind the parterre is a very ample provision for hats and cloaks - a thing almost unknown in a London music-hall. Usually a few pegs on the walls of a narrow passage have to do duty for a cloak-room, with the result that there is always confusion when the audience is leaving the theatre, arising from those who have left their coats and are desirous of recovering them. Messrs. Feltner and Helmer never forget this provision, for in all their work long counters are provided, for receiving hats and coats, and they are never placed in such a position as to be an obstruction to the easy exit of the audience.

Although there is much to learn and much to admire in the manner in which the architects carried out the difficult task set before them, in this case one cannot help dwelling on the unsuitable site and the inadequacy of the exits, which are only at the two points marked A A in the plan. Such a large building as is shown in Fig. 3 should certainly be provided with more ample means of exit. It is much to be regretted that the authorities of Buda-Pesth draw such a fine distinction between a theatre and music-hall, and allow the latter to be placed outside the stringent regulations which rule the former. Granting the site to be unsuitable, we must admit that the architects have worked out an extremely clever plan.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 26

Images begin again at Fig 1

Among the variety theatres, there has, perhaps, never been a more famous house than the Eden Theatre, Paris, which unfortunately last year had to be pulled down, having failed as a financial enterprise. This hall was a typical example of a class which is essentially French, consisting as it did of one large hall proper with lounge and promenade leading to a fetes hall, which assumed the character of a winter garden.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The task intrusted to the architects of the Eden Theatre, Paris, was to construct a house suitable for concerts and varieties, as well as for elaborate spectacular performances, which necessitated a stage of large proportions. Ample provision had also to be made for promenades, smoking-rooms, and bars. At the time of its erection the only other hall of a similar kind was the Folies Bergere. It is well known that that Duclos and Klein, the architects to whom the work was given, successfully combined the objects for which the theatre was intended. Building operations were commenced and completed in the very short space of a few months. Two stringent requirements had to be met by the architects and greatly influenced their design - namely, that the time occupied in construction should be as short as possible, and that the superficial area covered should be no greater than was strictly necessary, owing to the high price of ground in that part of Paris. On both these grounds an exceptionally large use of iron was made - in fact, the structure may be said to have been an iron skeleton with a clothing of cement, plaster, and masonry.

The architects regarded this construction simply as an enormous framework, so that the principal facade and vestibule were apparently the only parts built with a view to permanency. The principal facade was ornamented with columns of Scotch granite, with bronzes, &c., in Venetian enamel. The ground floor rested upon brick walls, and was constructed of iron girders, calculated to bear a weight of 1,000 kilograms to the superficial metre.

The circle of the first tier was formed by a wall, and the interior divisions furnished the necessary support to the roof over the whole structure. The grand saloon and fetes hall were in the form of an octagon, which was 25 metres in diameter.

Messrs. Klein and Duclos employed in the Eden Theatre two sets of supports; - first, an iron post built up of trellis-work, with an iron plate for a back and angle irons to insure rigidity; second, cast-iron columns on cast-iron bases, placed upon stone piers and the walls of the ground floor. The greatest difficulty in the construction was the Monilmontant, the same stream which passes under the Opera House, and the large shops in the Printemps. About half the space occupied by the theatre was inundated with water; the architects, therefore, adopted a system of concrete caissons in erecting this building.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AThe decoration of the interior was carried out in an Indian style, marked by great elaboration of detail of a somewhat coarse character, and rather heavy in the general effect (see detail of a doorway, Fig. 2). There was little difference in the arrangement of the auditorium from that usual in ordinary theatres.

At the back of the house accommodation was provided for six hundred performers, while the depth of the stage was as great as that of the opera. In the courtyard in front of the dressing-room there was stabling for fifty-five horses which were required upon the stage for the spectacular ballet performances. The roof was covered in zinc. The service staircases were made of iron, while the grand staircase and vestibule were composed entirely of stone. The ventilation of the house was effected by means of openings above the central light of the auditorium, foyer, and Indian saloon, while in summer the roof of the latter could be removed by hydraulic power, adding greatly to the comfort of the audience in hot weather. Almost the whole of the building was lighted by gas, electricity being only found in the gardens.

In order that this large auditorium might be comfortable in the winter, a hot-air apparatus was used for all parts of the building except the stage, where steam was considered safer and more satisfactory, as giving a less dry heat and being one which is more endurable to the artistes.

Two broad staircases, one on the right the other on the left of the vestibule, used to lead to the first floor, which contained the circular promenade from which an excellent view of the stage could be obtained, allowing the spectators to follow the representation, and at the same time to change their point of view. This promenade led on the right to an Indian Court, and to a winter garden on the left. In these two hall were bars of different nationalities divided by pillars, and the walls were covered with looking-glasses, giving an unusually long perspective vista. The area floor was occupied by stall seats, while raised slightly above this in the rear were the private boxes. The first tier consisted of open seats with the promenade behind. The stage was provided with elaborate machinery, because the spectacle represented upon it was of the highest order. Messrs. Godin, with the assistance of M. Arnadot, one of the chief machinists of Paris, carried out the machinery for this stage, and it is worth while here noting that in large theatres of variety the stage and stage machinery are as complete as in any theatre; in fact, the machinery required for the rapid changes in a spectacular ballet needs, if anything, to be more complete than that where a theatre is merely devoted to the drama. It is because quick changes and elaborate sets are used on the boards of a variety theatre that the music- hall is as liable to fire as any theatre, and it is only right that they should be placed under the same regulations with regard to protection and prevention from fire as the opera-houses and theatres.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 27

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Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AThe Olympia, in the Boulevard des Capucines at Paris, is a music-hall of the smaller type, also essentially French in character, erected from the designs of the architect, M. Leon Carle. It is a hall built on a very long piece of back land, with a narrow frontage to the public thoroughfare, with just sufficient width to contain the flaming posters and advertisements peculiar to this class of building. The entrance from the street is by a long passage-way, between five and six metres in width. The ground floor, or area level, is divided into two distinct parts, the fetes-hall marked B, and the stalls of the grand hall marked A on the diagram. The floor of the first portion is level; but the floor in the front part, where the seats are placed, slopes downwards the stage. The fetes-hall is quite in the character of a French music-hall, affording as it does large space for promenading purposes. The portion marked C on the plan is an orchestra in front of the platform which does duty for a stage. The promenade extends along each side of the hall and round behind the stage, and beyond this is placed the machinery-room.

In the fetes-hall there are raised platforms either side, four steps above the level of the floor, forming a promenade, from which the stage can easily be seen.

The first floor consists of a gallery, four and a half metres wide, running the full length on both sides of the hall as well as across the back. This gallery is not stepped up for seats, but is arranged for a promenade and used only for that purpose. There is, however, at a higher level, a second gallery of six rows of seats at the back of the hall.

Fig. 2 illustrates the longitudinal section. It is interesting to note how totally different this plan is from the music-halls of this country, and how it could never, under the present regulations, be erected in London, quite apart from its unsatisfactory arrangement in being built so far away from the street.

Figs. 3 and 4 are plans of the hall known as the Concert de la Scala in the Boulevard de Strasbourg, Paris. This building was erected from the designs of M. F. De La Rue, the architect, and it will be seen it is more like the English music-hall in arrangement than the preceding example.

The area consists of a flat floor seated with benches, from which one would imagine it would be difficult for one seated at the back to see the performance. As in the Olympia, there are raised platforms at the sides of the area with one row of seats running the length of the hall.

There are three tiers of galleries above the ground floor planned in a horseshoe form, with elongated sides, following a line not particularly good for sighting purposes, especially from the back seats at the sides.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The auditorium is surmounted with a sliding roof, and Fig. 5 gives a detail of the construction and gearing of the movable portion over the centre of the auditorium ceiling, from which it will be seen that by working a windlass over the proscenium wall, the sliding dome can be moved sideways to the right or the left. This dome is mounted upon strong metal wheels, which run upon rails bolted to the top of the main iron girder of the roof. A plan, elevation, and section of this method of construction is shown upon Fig. 5 to an enlarged scale. The English manner of working the sliding roof from the stage-level is far better than having to mount up to the roof-level before the sliding portion can be removed. Should a sudden shower come on during the time taken in reaching the windlass, the audience in the stalls would be materially damped by the falling rain. I have already explained the way of working adopted in London music-halls where sliding roofs are provided.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

From the section it will be seen that the stage is provided with a certain amount of machinery above the stage floor, but that it does not extend below the boards. With regard to the entrances and exits, it will be seen from the plans that here are double staircases leading from the vestibule to the three tiers of galleries above. These staircases are in common to all the galleries, and eventually discharge at one point, where a stream of people from the back of the stalls also joins them - a most dangerous and unsatisfactory state of affairs. The staircases, too, in themselves, are also unsatisfactory, and they are formed in their upper parts with numerous winders, as they curve round and discharge at the side of the tiers. Altogether the planning is not what would be expected in a building of this size and character.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 28

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In the present chapter I have to deal with a class of building not to be found in London, and the reason for this non-existence is primarily the stringent regulations under which theatres and concert-halls have to be built in the Metropolis. I refer to the public building which embraces a theatre and a concert-hall. We have both German and French types of this building, and the example set by these countries has been followed in America. The type may be divided into two classes - the one where a concert-hall, although under the same roof, is entirely separate from the theatre, and the one where the concert-room is a part of the theatre, with the same approaches and exits.

It is probable that the origin of the attachment of a concert-hall to a theatre arose from the fact that in opera-houses large practice and chorus-rooms are necessary for the training of the choir as well as for the rehearsal of the orchestra. As these large rooms have to be provided, they have in many cases been so arranged as to serve another purpose besides that of a practice and rehearsal-room; that is to say, a concert-hall has been built in the front part of the house of sufficient size and architectural importance that concerts may be given therein apart from the performances which take place in the theatre. Operatic concerts, orchestral concerts by the band and artists of the opera-house, are frequent attractions for morning performances during the opera season, and there is no doubt that a more fitting location could not be found for such performances than in a concert-hall within the walls of the opera-house.

In large theatres the saloon and foyer are frequently used for separate entertainments, given at a time when there is no performance proceeding in the theatre itself. At the time I am writing this article the foyer of the Empire Theatre, Leicester-square, is being used for the exhibition of the moving photography. The saloon of Drury Lane Theatre has long been well known as a place to hold functions in connection with theatrical charities and Masonic Festivals, and the saloon of the Lyceum Theatre is also frequently lent by Sir Henry Irving for meetings of his brother artists; yet it is quite the exception to find entertainments given in the saloon of a London playhouse. The majority of them, in fact, are quite inappropriate for such a purpose, and the chance appears to have been lost of utilising the space to the utmost extent, and buildings have been erected with foyers and saloons which are not designed in such a manner, with proper means of ingress and egress, so that they may even be used for an entertainment where the audience is limited in number.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

In Figs. 1 and 2 are reproduced from an old print the plan and elevation of a theatre in Ghent, which shows that this arrangement of a theatre and concert hall in one building is of long standing on the Continent. In this example the vestibule forms the centre feature of the plan. The approaches to the concert hall are on the right of this, and those to the theatre on the left. Whatever merits this building may show as to economy of space, it is not an arrangement to be recommended as far as the safety of the audience is concerned, as the two bodies of people attending the concert-hall and the theatre at the same time would be in great danger of meeting in two crowds in the same vestibule, and this danger would still exist, even were other exits provided than those into the vestibule, because the greatest number of people will always leave by the way they have entered.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

In the Theatre de Montpelier (Fig. 3), erected from the design of Mr. Cassien Bernard, we have a building of the composite class, of the French type. In this example the concert-hall, although a part of the same building with the theatre, is entirely disconnected by a solid mass of masonry - the back wall of the stage - and there is no opening connecting the theatre and concert-hall in any way.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The building as a whole stands upon an isolated site, and the entrances and exits to the concert-room are separate from those of the theatre, being in the rear of the building. The front is occupied by various entrances, as well as the vestibule of the theatre proper leading to the grand staircase, which is of elaborate design. A large portion of the sides of the building is taken up by a restaurant on the right and a cafe on the left of considerable dimensions. Unlike the concert-hall, there is a connection between these parts and the theatre by doorways which lead into the side vestibule. As a whole, this plan is an admirable solution of the difficulties which arise when an architect has to erect a building to serve the two purposes, for Mr. Cassien Bernard has, in no way sacrificed the safety of the audiences by obstructing his exits, or by mixing the various streams of people which would flow from the concert-hall and from the theatre. There is no doubt, however, that the admirable site on which this building was erected went a long way towards solving these difficulties.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AAnother example of this class of building is shown in Fig. 4 - the Konigl. Schauspielhaus in Berlin, the architect of which was Schinkel. Here the concert-hall was placed at the side of the theatre, and was not in direct communication with the passages of the auditorium.

In many respects the exterior of the Royal Playhouse at Berlin is the most elaborate work which has been produced by this well-known German theatre specialist, Mr. Schinkel.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AThe site of this building was previously occupied by the Royal National Theatre, which was destroyed by fire at the beginning of this century. Schinkel, who was intrusted with the erection of the new building in the year 1819, was, it is stated, seriously hampered by the conditions laid down, especially that which obliged him to use the old foundations. For this reason in its general dimensions the new theatre had to correspond with the old one, and it was divided into three parts - the theatre proper and two wings, one of which is the concert-hall. The auditorium of the theatre has a holding capacity for 1,500 persons, and is semicircular in form. The galleries, which have been introduced to afford greater accommodation, are said to have materially injured the effect of the front part of the house.

The concert-hall lies to the south of the main building, and has a separate vestibule. The hall measures 13.8 metres broad, and is 13.5 metres high, and is said to be, without doubt, the finest interior that has been executed by this architect. A double staircase, which rises from the hall itself, leads to the balcony and adjoining rooms. The hall is used for balls, fetes, and concerts, and State functions.

The theatre is Hellenic in form, with elaborate plaster interior decoration, and an exterior chiefly carried out in sandstone. The total cost of the block was £95,000.

Fig. 5 is the Victoria Theatre in Berlin, the architects of which are C. F. Langhaus and Edward Silk, another building of the composite class, where the stage occupies the centre of the building with an auditorium on either side, forming a summer theatre on the one side, and a winter theatre on the other.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 29

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Note:- Figs 4, 5, and 7 were not indicated in the text but I have placed them where I think they should be. M.L.

In the last chapter I referred to one of the reasons for the concert-hall and theatre being in one building, stating that it was a matter of convenience for operatic recitals. On the Continent, however, one may look to another cause for the foyers and saloons becoming separate places of public - more especially where they form part of the Court Theatres and of the latest development, the People's Theatre - assembly. In Court Theatres the accessories are designed to a lavish scale: they are peculiarly the luxury established and maintained at the expense of reigning monarchs. In modern times all classes are usually at liberty to enjoy the entertainments given at these playhouses, subject, of course, to such restrictions as to the number of spectators or the charge for admission, as may seem good to the Royal owner, as whose guests they are in reality admitted. The money received thus contributes to defray the cost of the entertainment, and in this way the public are permitted to witness the performance at a smaller outlay than would be required of them were the institution managed merely with a view to gain. Court officials and officers of the army and navy are on the free list; whilst university professors and other distinguished men of learning frequently gain admission at a nominal fee. Art is encouraged on the stage: the attendance of the cultured classes is sought in the auditorium. Although the price of admission is comparatively small, it is yet sufficient to secure, in addition to the privileged, an assembly of a certain social standing. On some occasions of national festivity, however, an exception is made, and the auditorium is thrown open to all corners absolutely free of payment. The pride that a Continental Court takes in its theatre is most noticeable.

Not only does the sovereign use the building for the entertainment of his official or private guests, or for his public receptions, but no general Court ceremony is complete without a visit to the Royal play-house. Indeed, some performances rank as high State functions, all the seats being filled by special invitation.

As an example of the space which is given up in a building of the Court Theatre type to a concert-hall for Court and other functions, I illustrate the plans, Figs. 1 and 2, of the Grand State Theatre, Mecklenburg Schwerin. Fig. 3 is a longitudinal section of the same building. The space usually devoted to the foyer and grand staircases is designed for a concert-hall extending to a height equal to two stories of the theatre, and in length the whole front of the building. The area-level of the concert-hall is accessible from the first flight of the staircases which lead into the theatre, while the gallery of the concert-hall is also approached from the third flight of the theatre staircases.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The State or Court box is placed in the centre of the auditorium on the first tier; behind this box, and between the theatre and the concert-room, is the Royal saloon, which can be used for Royalty both for concert-room and theatre. This saloon has a separate entrance from the street, and is approached by a staircase placed on the right of the building.

In addition to the State-box here described, there is on the right of the auditorium the Grand Ducal stage-box, generally used by high personages. The approach to this box is arranged in the centre of this side facade with an inclosed carriageway. A special staircase serves for this entrance. On the ground floor large doors open from the vestibule into a corridor behind the auditorium; the central door leads to the parquet or stalls on the first floor, the two side doorways lead to the staircases on the right and left of the theatre, which serve as an approach to the second and third tiers of seats. These staircases have special exit doors of their own leading directly into the street, without re-entering the vestibule, so that people can depart from the tiers above without mixing with any of the audience leaving through the vestibule.

The staircases are planned with more steps in a flight without intercepting landings than are accepted by authorities as wise for the safe construction of staircases where large crowds have to descend rapidly - in many cases there are as many as nineteen steps without a break; the circular staircases near the proscenium are also in a form which would seldom, if ever, be found in a theatre of the present day.

Doubtless the architect of this theatre, Herr Daniell, was entirely influenced in his design by having to place the concert-hall and assembly-room in front of the auditorium for the special Court functions which would be held therein, to which he has sacrificed to some extent the arrangements for the ingress and egress of the people.

No doubt the most magnificent building of this particular class in the whole world is the Sunper and Hasenauer Court Theatre at Vienna, with its magnificent auditorium, to which is attached the most luxurious suite of reception rooms, most frequently used for Court ceremonies and the entertainment of the Emperor's guests.

One of the most ambitious schemes of a building used for more than one audience is to be seen in Madison-square Gardens, New York, (Fig. 4) erected by Messrs. McKem, Mead, and White. The history of the building is told by Mr. Horace Townsend as follows:- "When New York was a younger city than it is now, and the city was clustered about the lower end of the island which it now almost entirely covers, one of the principal railway stations was built by the famous Commodore Vanderbilt in close proximity to Madison-square; but as that locality gradually became the heart of the city the station was moved further northward, and the enormous building, which covered an entire 'city block' or plot of land 425ft. by 200ft., was left on the Commodore's hands. He did not pull it down, but at small expense turned it into a sort of rough Agricultural Hall, where he held horse shows, dog shows, boxing matches, and so forth, while once a year it was tenanted by Mr. Barnum's 'Greatest Show on Earth.' It was a malodorous, ramshackle sort of place," says Mr. Townsend; "but year after year it stood there, producing a fair rent, but nothing approaching the interest on the sum of money it represented. Many plans were discussed for the turning of it to better account; but all proved abortive, until a syndicate of the richest bankers and so forth in the city bought the property for some million and a half dollars (£300,000), and built on its site a comprehensive structure devoted to public amusement.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The block consists of an enormous amphitheatre 310ft., by 194ft., by 80ft. in height, comprising 30,000ft. super., with a track a mile long, and it has seating capacity for 6,000 persons. In addition to this amphitheatre is a large restaurant, (Fig. 4) with main room 80ft. by 90ft., and a number of lesser rooms attached. Over the rest of the large hall is built a concert-room, (Fig. 5) while at the side there is a theatre which will seat 1,200 persons (Fig. 4 and 5).

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The concert-hall accommodates no less a number than 1,500 people. There are additional attractions in this enormous place of entertainment, there being a tower 300ft. high, with a platform 200ft. above the pavement, and the roof over the theatre is 112ft. by 200ft. This building is said to be one of the first to be erected under the new regulations at New York.

Fig. 6 is Mr. Kiralfy's Alhambra Palace at Philadelphia, a building devoted to variety entertainments and spectacular shows. Bhreeke's Concert-Room in Braunschweig, by architect Erdmann Hartig, is another building of a class devoted to a lighter form of entertainment, and, like Mr. Kiralfy's palace in Philadelphia, it is connected with a winter-garden and open-air concert garden.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

There is still another class of theatre (Fig. 7) which is also used as a concert-hall; but it is a class which is distinctly Continental. I refer to the people's theatre, the most typical example of which is at Worms. In addition to the theatre, the block comprises a public hall and assembly-room, with small stage for concerts, and, further, a restaurant.

There is a large garden at the side, which can also be used for outdoor concerts. The theatre accommodates 1,183 people, and, with standing room, can hold 1,400. The concert-room is so arranged that it can be used as a foyer to the theatre, and a terrace outside is also available both to the theatre and concert-hall. The ample space given for cloak-counters is a special feature, and attention should be drawn to the circular lounge. The theatre is so arranged that not only performances can be given therein, but also concerts; and in addition to the orchestra in front of the stage, there are, in the rear of the auditorium, an organ and seats for a choir of 100.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 30

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Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

I have already referred in a previous chapter to the casinos which exist in some of the fashionable watering-places on the Continent, and have illustrated my remarks by the plans and details of the famous Monte Carlo gambling-rooms, showing by that example how these pleasure resorts include places of public assembly and amusement within their buildings. There are, however, other examples of this type of concert-hall, which must not be overlooked in this series.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The casinos and pavilions which are erected at watering-places and pleasure resorts may be divided into two classes - viz., those which are erected within a short distance of the water's-edge, and those built over the water itself, as is the case with pier pavilions. Of the first class, Figs. 1 and 2 show the plan and elevation of a typical example of a casino built on the edge of the water, being the Casino de Gerardmer, of which M. L. Mougenot was the architect. This casino, situated at an inland watering-place near the Vosges mountains, stands upon a raised terrace overlooking the water, and consists of a central building and two wings; nearly the whole of the front portion is treated as a colonnade.

The left wing consists of a cardroom and a billiard-room; while the right is occupied by a library, and by the manager's offices. The whole of the central block is devoted to the grand hall for banquets and fetes; this is fitted up with a stage at one end, and broad flights of steps lead from it to the pleasure-gardens in the rear.

On either side of the entrance vestibule are the refreshment-rooms and café, so necessary in a building of this description. This casino fulfils all the requirements of an inland pleasure resort on the bank of a lake or river.

In designing a building of this class, the laying-out of the surroundings is a most important feature, and the forming of the terrace, promenades, and covered colonnades is as essential for the pleasure of the public as the creation of the banquet-hall and gambling rooms.

Of casinos erected on the shore, one of the most typical examples may be seen at Ostend. This structure is circular in plan, and is built of iron, with galleries, terraces, and esplanades surrounding it, and a club-room devoted to gambling purposes.

In Fig. 3 I give a plan of the Ostend Casino. The concert pavilion is the central feature of the plan, the surrounding rooms being grouped with strict regard to symmetrical planning. The plan of the concert-hall is based upon an octagon with 8 sides of unequal length, and is constructed area entirely of iron. Its height is 100ft., the form of the ceiling being vaulted. In the walls are enormous windows which can be let down into the floor in fine weather, leaving the sides quite open. The construction is, in fact, little more than a clever combination of doors, windows, and looking-glasses, and the design, which is Mr. Laurey's, is carried out in a semi-Renaissance character.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Outside the pavilion are two raised terraces, while on the other side of it is the dancing-saloon, with orchestra at one end. Music-rooms, card-rooms, billiard, club, and refreshment-rooms, all find a place in the grouping of the building. There is also the well-known Strangers' Club, with the gaming-tables. The superficial area of the floor-space of the pavilion is 2,500 square metres, that of the dancing-room is 700 square metres. The cost of the whole was 1,500,000 francs.

As can be seen from the provisions made in the plan, the building is put to many purposes. Primarily, it is a fashionable rendezvous for visitors, and all kinds of fetes are indulged in, bazaars, balls, assemblies, and theatrical entertainments are provided for the subscribers.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Fig. 4 represents the plan of a casino built over water. This casino is situated at Cannes: it is erected not far from the shore, and is approached by a promenade pier of sufficient width to allow carriages to drive up to the entrance. The central feature is a large concert-hall; the right wing is occupied by a theatre, and the left by the gaming and billiard-rooms. Fig. 5 is a view of the exterior.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

Most of the larger English watering-places have pavilions erected at the pier-head, which are devoted to all classes of music, concerts, theatrical entertainments, and variety shows; but in no case can we boast of buildings of any architectural merit. Perhaps the best typical examples are to be found at Hastings and Brighton, where various entertainments are given.

At Southsea there is a wood and iron structure devoted entirely to promenade and orchestral music, as shown in the section, Fig. 6.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

In the year 1858, when Southsea was an unimportant town on the outskirts of Portsmouth, a promenade pier, on cast-iron supports, was erected. In 1881 a second pier was erected, and upon this was built, for the convenience, comfort, and shelter of visitors, a large pavilion with reading and club-room attached. The chief feature of this pier is, therefore, the fine concert-room placed in the middle of the pier, having a width of 75ft. and a height of 40ft. The seating capacity of the pavilion is for 1,000 persons, and in addition there is a promenade gallery running right round the building.

I do not remember having heard of any serious fire in a building of this character; but when we consider that theatrical representations are given upon a small, cramped, and ill-provided stage, and that the audience are in most cases divided from it only by a flimsy canvas screen, it is a great wonder that such an accident has never happened.

There is much for architects to learn who erect piers and pavilions, both as to architectural treatment and grouping of buildings, and also as to the arrangement for the comfort and safety of the audience, and the provision of more adequate accommodation for the performances. As a rule, the pier pavilion in England gives one the impression of a makeshift or after-thought, instead of being a portion of the structure of the pier itself.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 31

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The pier pavilion is a very popular example of the public assembly-room, and the uses to which it is put are numerous and varied. One of the most recent erections of this class is the pavilion on the pier of Clacton-on-Sea, erected in 1890-93, from the designs of the engineers, Messrs. Kinipple and Jaffrey. The construction of this building is of great interest, and it would not be out of place to repeat the description of it given by the engineers of the pavilion: The length is 156ft., while the width is 66ft. and the height 38ft. 6in.

The pavilion is a steel structure with glazed sides and roof, is two stories in height, has semicircular ends, and an outside balcony, 6ft. wide, beyond the main principals, which forms a promenade all round the pavilion at the level of the first floor. The balcony is sheltered from rain by the overhanging roof, and the floor of the balcony serves as a cover to the promenade space on the deck level round the structure. The recesses, or alcoves, between the main principals on the balcony and deck floors are occupied by seats.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The upper half of Fig. 1 is a half-plan of the ground floor from which it will be seen that the concert-hall occupies the central or rectangular portion of the structure, the semicircular end next the pier-head being used as a spacious refreshment-room, 47ft. by 18ft., whilst the landward end is used for eight shops or stalls, each about 12ft. by 12ft., having doors and windows on the outer side of the buildings, and likewise windows and counters in the interior opening on a spacious vestibule, forming the main entrance to the concert-hall, so that visitors, either inside or outside the building, can be attended to.

The dimensions of the concert-hall on the ground floor are 75ft. by 45ft. 6in., and on the balcony 104ft. by 45ft. 6in. There are five entrances on the ground floor, two on each side, in addition to the principal entrance through the vestibule above referred to. By means of a sliding glazed screen the vestibule can either be separated from, or made to form part of, the concert-hall. A roomy stage or platform is provided at the seaward end of the hall, and at the opposite end and along both sides there is a gallery, access to which is obtained from two side stairs within the hall, or from a stair in a passage between the concert-hall and the refreshment-rooms. The hall accommodates 1,500 persons, and of its acoustic properties artists on the platform and the audience in the remotest part of the gallery speak highly.

The arrangement of the balcony floor, showing ladies' rooms, lavatories, &c., is shown in the lower portion of Fig. 1.

There are 26 main stanchions supporting the roof and gallery, which are placed 15ft. apart. Each main support is 24ft. 9in. high and 4ft. wide, and consists of two box columns joined together by a web; the section of these is composed of two flanges 7½ wide and ¼in thick, two web plates 6in. by ¼in., four inside angles 21in. by 2½in. by ¼in., and two outside angles 3½in. by 3in. by 3/8in. These latter angles connect the web joining the box columns together, and thus form one main column. This web is of 3/8in. plate, but is not continuous from top to bottom, a space on the lower, or ground floor portion, having diagonal bracing, the intervals between which are filled with sashes and glazed.

On the upper or balcony floor portion there are also sashes, but of square form in the webs of the principals. To each box column there are two sole plates, 24in. by 21½ in. by 5/8in., which rest on 24in. by 12in. transverse timber bearers, and are secured to them by 1¼in. screw bolts.

The main columns are further secured by timber transverse bearers of the pier by strong anchor straps riveted to the inner and outer faces of the columns, and bolted to the timberwork by ½in. bolts spaced 4ft. 6in. apart, so that a wide base is thus secured to the columns.

The roof principals are parallel lattice girders 15in. deep, having top and bottom flangles of two angles, 3in. by 3in. by 3/8in. and lattice bars ½in. by ¼in. They are stiffened, and some architectural effect is obtained at their junctions at the apex of the roof with the main columns by strong curved members, between which and the girders wrought-iron scroll-work is introduced.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

The roof purlins are lattice girders 15ft. long and 9in. deep, and spaced 5ft. 2in. apart, from centre to centre. The top and bottom members are T section, 3in. by 3in. by 3/8in., and lattice bars. The balcony is carried. by 5in. by 4½in. rolled joists, spaced 5ft. apart from centre to centre, laid tranversely to the line of the balcony, and supported by two lines of 7 7/8in. by 3½in. channel beams, riveted respectively to the inner and outer faces of the main columns, and also to 4in. by 3½in. by ½in. angle-iron supporting brackets. Fig. 2 shows the sections of this building.

CONCERT-HALLS AND ASSEMBLY-ROOMS

By ERNEST A. E. WOODROW, A.R.I.B.A.

Chapter 32

Images begin again at Fig 1

I have now to deal with a class of buildings which have to serve the purposes of both healing establishments and of places of amusement. I refer to those buildings known as hydropathic institutions or spas in our own country, and as the "kurhaus" on the Continent. These buildings are erected partly for the accommodation of those wishing to undertake a course of water-cure, and partly for social intercourse and recreation or as general pleasure resorts.

Beyond the actual bathing establishment the visitor expects a good assembly-room, concert-hall, promenade, and covered colonnades for exercise in wet weather, ball, billiard, and reading-rooms, and, in many cases, even theatre - in fact, all the pleasures of the town transferred to the country; and it is the object of the proprietor, and the duty of the architect, to fulfill all these demands and make the establishment a popular and profit able concern. This, it will be seen, will largely depend on the architect's skill. The building itself sometimes takes the form of a place for public assembly, with the water-cure establishment attached: at others, it consists of a huge hotel, with all the adjuncts of the assembly-rooms and bathing establishment. The former class is the older form, and was well supported by our forefathers as a place of fashion. Perhaps the best instance of this description is the famous pump-room at Bath, and, indeed, the whole town was at one time entirely supported by the visitors who either required a "cure" or who wished to follow the fashionable crowd. The latter of these two classes is represented by our large hydropathic establishments. When situated in France these establishments are all included under the very comprehensive name of casino.

On the Continent, added to the buildings containing the guests, are the promenades, colonnades, and assembly-rooms, which are sometimes closely connected to the "kurhaus," and at others are self-contained buildings, forming an approach to the drinking halls and wells. Here, in the daytime, the visitors meet for walking or conversation, and, in the evening, for balls, concerts, lectures, besides all manner of theatrical entertainments.

Before dealing in detail with this interesting and complex group of buildings. I wish to impress upon my readers that, from the fire and panic standpoint, these large assembly halls must not be excluded from any of the stringent rules as to planning and construction upon which I have so frequently dwelt, both in the pages of this journal and elsewhere. It will at once be seen how great ought to be the care exercised in this matter, when we consider that, in addition to the dangers of the temporary stage, with its attendant flimsy appurtenances and often amateur management, we have hundreds of people sleeping in the building of which the hall forms a component part. It must not be forgotten that statistics of fires show us that they frequently break out after, sometimes long after, the stage is empty and the hall shut up for the night, so that the dangers to the inhabitants of the boarding-house or hotel in connection with the assembly-rooms are well-nigh without limit. This consideration causes me to fix one rule, which should, in my opinion, never on any account be relaxed, i.e., that in all cases the assembly-hall should be well separated from the inhabited buildings by solid construction or open air-space.

In the recent developments of hotel building the assembly-room has become a necessity, as competition demands its inclusion in every large hotel, whether in town or at a pleasure resort: but its addition to the building is very seldom looked upon as a great fire risk.

Considering the buildings, in connection with their special objects, we may group them as follows:

1. Spas and assembly halls altogether separated from the wells.

2. The spas, in connection with pump-rooms, promenades, bath-houses, and often hotels.

3. The spas and assembly-rooms, with theatre and card-rooms attached.

4 The casinos and gambling places, with the adjuncts of the "water-cure" and mineral wells.

The object of all these buildings, however grouped, is practically the same; they are, of course, planned differently, in accordance with the different sites, local conditions, and requirements. In all cases, however, they should contain a saloon or assembly hall for social gatherings, large fetes, bazaars, balls, and concerts: it is necessary, therefore, that provision should be made for an orchestra, and the usual large platform, which should be such as may be easily adapted to the many and varied purposes for which it is likely to be required; perhaps the rooms next in importance will be the reading-room, billiard-room, and card-rooms.

In addition to these there must, of course, be the necessary ante-rooms, lavatories, cloak-rooms, and attendants' rooms. A cafe and restaurant, with the necessary kitchens and service-rooms, very frequently find a place, as I have before remarked.

The terraces, halls, promenades, &c, have already been referred to, and the hotel buildings follow very much the grouping of an ordinary hotel, and would naturally be discussed when dealing with these latter.

A characteristic of the French Establishment de Bains is the provision of a stage in the assembly-room for various theatrical entertainments, or even the erection of a building which forms part of the group, and is entirely devoted to these performances - in fact, a regular theatre, intended principally for the use of the guests themselves in amateur performances, but also sometimes used by professional travelling companies.

The want of a proper and efficient stage has been much felt at many of the German hydropathic establishments, and it is only of late years that one has been erected in the concert-room attached to the kurhaus at Ems, where it has been found to add greatly to the popularity of that famous watering-place.

With regard to the planning of these buildings, it may be taken generally that on the Continent there are two principal types of ground plans adopted; these may be termed : (1) the central plan; (2) the elongated plan. The former of these two is more popular in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, while the French seem to prefer the latter. Both these forms are naturally more noticeable in the smaller buildings than in the large groups.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.A

In the first illustration I have selected, the detached or isolated "kurhaus" is planned on the central system - it is that of the kursaal at Ischl. Here the large concert-room or public hall is situated in the midst, with terraces, halls, and colonnades on the park side, while on the other side, grouped round the saloon, are the entrance-hall, porters' and service-rooms, reception, cloak, reading, and billiard-rooms, together with a smaller, which is useful for various purposes when the central or large hall is either engaged or unsuitable because of its size.

The concert-hall goes the entire height of the building; but the adjoining rooms are lower, and have offices, caretaker's-rooms, &c., over them. The kitchens and store-rooms are situated in the basement.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AFig. 2 is the "kurhaus" at Baden, in Switzerland, and if we compare the plans of this with that in Fig. 1, which we have just been discussing, the following features may be noticed: - The entrance-hall in the Baden example is at the back of the building, that of Ischl on the side, and the adjoining rooms are differently grouped. In Fig. 1 the orchestra is in the chief axis, in Fig. 2 on the cross axis.

In the Baden example cloak-rooms and lavatories are on the right of the entrance and a museum on the left, while between the cafe and the hall is situated a very popular portion of the building, viz., the buffet.

The cost of the Ischl building was 240 marks per square metre of the superficial area of ground covered, while that of Baden cost 276 marks. They were built in 1872 and 1875, and the architect of the former was M. Michel, of the latter M. Moser.

Quite a different arrangement is shown in the plan of the Ostend casino (a diagram of which appeared in Chap. XXX of this series, the Building News for Nov. 13 last, p. 692) although it may still be classed as "central." The chief hall is situated in the midst of the building, and from it there is a free and uninterrupted view of the sea. Its domed roof, supported on columns, rises well above the surrounding groups of buildings. The superficial area of the hall is 2,500 square metres, and that of the ballroom 700; altogether, the entire building covers 7,200 square metres.

Instances of the elongated plan, so much used by French architects for this description of building, are shown in Figs. 3 and 4. As a general rule, the concert-hall occupies the middle of the block, while right and left are planned the various other rooms in the form of wings, connected with the main building by long corridors.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AFig. 3 is the casino at Plombieres, built in 1879 by the architect, M. Andre; this is a simple example of a well-known French "kurhaus." The length of the block is 90 metres, while the width is 13 metres. The reader will see from the illustration that its chief features are the concert-hall and theatre combined, which has accommodation for an orchestra of 40 performers (this is one side of the vestibule), while on the other are found the reading and ladies' room and the billiard-saloon.

Concert Halls and Assembly Rooms by Ernest A. E. Woodrow, A.R.I.B.AThe casino at Andona (Fig. 4) was built from designs by Messrs. Hedin and Quellain, and is of the French type I referred to, having the large concert-hall and theatre for its central feature, and the minor rooms placed in the wings 'on either side.

With regard to our own country, a German writer expresses himself in rather curious terms when referring to the requirements of the English people in a seaside assembly-room. He remarks that we in this country have no desire for a social life when visiting our health resorts; that we live there in private houses very much as when we are at home, and that there is, therefore, no need of the multifarious rooms so universal at the Continental "kurhaus." He says that, if any large building is erected, it is mostly for the use of men, and is without provision for the accommodation of ladies.

The same writer, however, informs his readers that we do possess a spa at Scarborough, which includes a large concert-hall and winter garden, besides most of the accommodation usual in Continental health resorts.

The above Chapters are from an Article entitled 'Concert-Halls and Assembly-Rooms' by A. E. Woodrow, which was Serialised in several Volumes of 'The Building News and Engineering journal' from 1895 to 1897. So far I have been unable to find the entire Article but if you know the whereabouts of Chapters 1 to 7 and from 33 onwards please Contact me.

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