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Loews Cineplex Entertainment Prototype Theatre
Various Locations, USA
Typical Building Exterior Elevation Interior Main Lobby and Box Office Typical Stadium Seating Auditorium

The stadium seating design concept revolutionized the cinema experience by providing patrons with unobstructed viewing sight lines.  The new requirements meant taking the exiting sloped floor prototype design concept and modifying it to incorporate the new stadium seating elements that satisfied building codes and operational concerns. 

Having developed the LCE sloped floor prototype, the architect and engineering firm of Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber (FTC&H) embarked on creating a new functional design.

Prototype Characteristics: 12 to 20 screens
3,000 to 5,000 seats
Footprint 60,000 to 90,000 sf
Clear Hgt. 29.0 to 35.0 ft
Building Description: Stadium seating auditorium design
Structural steel superstructure
Masonry and EFIS exterior
Project Types: Freestanding multiplex
Urban mixed-use development

Attached commercial center
Project Scope of Work: Land lease, developer delivering all site  improvement work beyond curb line including compacted building pad, tenant responsible for all construction work and FF&E installations.
Estimated Prototype Cost: US $10,900,000 to $16,500,000

Several important challenges immerged as a result of the new concept, (1) an increase in cost, (2) loss of floor plan efficiency, (3) accessibility, and (5) construction time.  The increase in cost is primarily attributed to the increase in building height and footprint dimensions.   In turn all the building systems were impacted as well.  To address part of the increase in cost concern, several stadium framing alternatives where investigated, among them:

  • Cast-in-place concrete stadium risers over earth fill
  • Precast stadium platform and risers on masonry support walls
  • Metal stud framing  stadium risers, with metal deck and concrete platform
  • Structural steel framing, with metal deck and concrete platform

Each alternative offered advantages and disadvantages.   The impact on construction phasing, ease of construction and speed, became the focus in evaluating and eventually selecting the best  system to meet the project requirements.

The modular nature of a multiplex theatre building, lends itself to sequential linear scheduling.  Enclosing the building and completing all overhead work in each auditorium is a primary focus in theatre construction.  The introduction of stadium seating dictated a re-evaluation of that work sequence.  Scheduling consideration narrowed the alternatives to two: metal stud and structural steel framing system. 

Both systems met the cost and work sequencing criteria.   The structural steel framing system was adopted for the new prototype structural frame system and the metal stud solution was selected for use in stadium conversion of existing slope floor auditorium projects. 

In today's business environment, the long term success of many projects may depend on being open for business on a specific date for competitive reasons.   Therefore, tight cost and scheduling controls, innovative designs and team cooperation are essential elements for project success.

Other projects:



Cinema Owner/Operator:
Loews Cineplex Entertainment
New York, NY

Cinema Architect/Engineer:
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber
Ada, MI


















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