At the Movies
An Ohio multiplex by Heinlein Schrock Stearns is rated E for excellent
Monica Geran -- Interior Design, 6/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Continuing in the progressive architectural tradition identified with Columbus, Ohio, since the 1980s, Heinlein Schrock Stearns Architecture + Design completed the Midwestern city's Arena Grand Theatre last year. Grand is the operative word. The eight-auditorium building—an octocineplex—makes a pronounced, bold gesture with an angular facade and a sweepingly defined lobby. Stone, copper, and glass are primary building materials; Venetian plaster predominates inside.
Instead of following the outworn convention of a series of movie halls sprouting off a long corridor, the firm instead sited them in a ring around the perimeter of an immense piazzalike lobby. This 2,800-square-foot central space is enlivened by slanted and rectangular shapes joined, when seen from the Arena Grand's entrance, with giant curvatures. "Everything revolves around the piazza, creating a sense of movement," says project designer Dan Hanes.
Immediately above are club rooms and a small restaurant; the third level, used for private screenings, also opens onto the balcony. Collectively, the project suggests a composition of simple geometry made to look exciting and strong. The deployment of strategically placed lights intensifies that impression.