Proposed Movie Theatre

Proposed Movie Theatre (Lee Gray)

Now Playing: The 21st Century Movie Theater

Monolithic Domes as Theaters

Leland Gray of Leland A. Gray Architects, LLC in Salt Lake City, Utah spent his younger years learning the movie theater business. His family owned a movie theater in Sandpoint, Idaho. He ran the theater during his high school and college years, so he has theater operation experience and understands the ins and outs of the equipment and business management.

In an interview with Leland, I asked why do Monolithic Domes provide the ideal architecture for movie theaters.

Leland said, “Theaters should look unique. They always have. That’s tradition with theaters. Monolithic Domes are the perfect structure to provide a unique and interesting theater on the outside and the inside. People are attracted to the unusual.”

In addition to a Monolithic Dome’s normal attributes of safety, security and disaster resistance, Leland claims that in the theater industry the energy efficiency and the circular design contribute to an overall lower cost of operation and that equals increased profits.

Leland said that it’s not a structure’s construction cost that tops the list of big business expenses but ongoing operating costs. These include personnel, maintenance and, most importantly, energy.

Equipment Cost Savings

Because of the circular design, a projection booth can be located in the center of a dome. Since the theaters can be located fairly close together, one film can be used at staggering times to provide showings in 3 or 4 different theaters. This minimizes expenses not only in movie rental costs, but in personnel.

Energy Savings

When we head out the door anticipating a cinema experience, we assume we will be comfortable during the showing. Fresh air, heating and cooling a theater is important to customer comfort.

Since most theaters today house anywhere from 4-20 theaters, energy cost can be extremely high – especially in summer months. Because of the dome’s thermal battery, ongoing heating and cooling costs are dramatically decreased – up to 50-75s percent.

Dramatic Sound Isolation

Outside sounds such as sirens, storms, trains and other noises can sometimes become a distraction. Because Monolithic Domes are super-insulated with polyurethane foam and sprayed with concrete, they have an inordinately high STC rating, so exterior sounds are virtually eliminated.

IMAX or Planetarium Theaters

Monolithic Dome design possibilities are endless. Other types of theaters such as an IMAX or a planetarium have incredible potential. Leland said, “As technology improves and we move beyond IMAX to possibly something even more high tech, using a Monolithic Dome is the ideal way to go.”

A Monolithic Dome as a planetarium provides surround video and sound.

Leland Gray can be reached at [email protected] or (801)487-9800.

Note: Originally presented in January 2004 and updated in Dec 2010

Movie Theatre sample floor plan

Movie Theatre sample floor plan (Lee Gray)