Auditorium Plans & Layout Guides

What is an Auditorium?

An auditorium is a space that can host audio or visual performances. You can find them in schools, theatres, community halls, and entertainment venues. They can be used to practice, present, perform arts productions, and learn spaces.

Auditorium Designs

An auditorium can be used for various purposes, such as a stage for dramatic performances, a concert venue with orchestras, or a theatre with screens for viewing movies and presentations.

Auditoriums are available in the following formats:

  • Lecture halls
  • Opera houses
  • Concert halls
  • Theatres
  • Playhouses

Here are some characteristics to consider when designing auditoriums

  • No matter if the performances are visual, audio, or both
  • If performances are recorded
  • The audience

An Auditorium: Parts

Although auditoriums can come in many sizes and shapes, the most common design consists of three components:

  1. The main sitting area
  2. The stage
  3. Support areas

The Main Seating Area

The majority of the audience will be seated in the main area. The standard estimates are around 18 sq. ft per person. This allows for aisles, sound and light control areas and entryways that trap light when late-comers arrive. Seating layouts are dependent on viewing angles. Every seat should have a beautiful view angle. Acoustic control is a science. 3D computer models are essential for creating the best “sound environment” for seating design.

Auditorium Stage

The stage should be large enough to hold the largest number of people. The typical stage measures 30-35 feet in depth with a proscenium opening that is 40-50 feet wide and 30 feet high. Side stages should not exceed half the width of each proscenium opening. Access to the stage should be made accessible for those with disabilities. To accomplish this, side aprons can be constructed on the same level as the “cross-aisle”.

Design considerations for Auditorium Seating

The size of the audience and the form of the stage will determine the overall layout of the auditorium.

Auditorium Layout & Dimensions

Dimensions can be tricky. However, a good rule is to arrange the auditorium according to the type of performance you are planning and the number of people attending.

  • 200 seats: 270m2 | 2,900 ft2
  • 150 seats: 190m2 | 2,000 ft2
  • 75 seats: 125 m2 | 1,350 ft2

Floor Design

Auditorium seating design is influenced by the slope or level of the floor. Raked seating is used in many auditoriums. It is placed on an upward slope from the stage to allow better views.

Consider when designing a floor area for a theatre.

  • The effect of row spacing and sightline on the audience
  • Tier depth
  • Tier height
  • Amount of aisles
  • Aisle width
  • Slope degree
  • Any construction that could block your audience’s vision

Steeper Ascending Seating

Auditoriums with higher seating give each person a better view of the stage. The seats in front slope away to show the action on stage. Steader seating creates more drama.

Sallow Ascending Seating

Shallowly ascending seating is preferred over steeper options for seminars and audience participation, such as in business conferences or college lecture halls. It allows for greater communication between people by bringing them closer together. This intimacy is not suitable for the drama required in concert halls and playhouses.

Auditoriums with shallow ascending seating often allow audiences to bring drinks or snacks, as well as paper to make notes. Auditoriums with shallow ascending seating often have multiple trash cans and recycling bins strategically located at all doors. This is because audience members require a place to dispose of their belongings.

You Need to Consider the Design of Your Seats

These are the three fundamental rules for seating your theatre or auditorium.

  1. Clear audience view and high-quality acoustic
  2. Safety and comfort for the audience
  3. Maximum occupancy to maximize sales

Seat Width

The seat width refers to the distance between the last row of seats and the stairs. It also includes the distance between each row member. All gaps should be filled with seats.

Row Spacing

Each row of seats must have enough clearance to allow for the safety and comfort of the audience. This also affects the capacity and profitability of the auditorium.


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