Bradford Odeon. Tim Ronalds Architects

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1 Bradford Odeon

2 Background Bradford Live s plan is to strip out the 1969 insertions and restore the main auditorium to its original size and shape. We know that most of the decoration in this area was removed in 1969, although those parts that remain will be kept. The well preserved ballroom and restaurant wing will be restored back to its original state. Other areas of the building will also, for the most part, be put back to their original forms, and a new extension at the rear of the building will be built, to ensure that the venue has competitive facilities for the modern live touring industry. This area will include new dressing rooms, a loading dock and stage storage. The entire building will be served by new acoustic, electrical, heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and fire control systems. The new venue will be able to hold c 3500 in fully seated mode; and c with stalls standing. The separate ballroom will hold (standing) c 800. It will be run commercially by a operator, although the building itself would be held by the Bradford Live charity. The venue will be a midsize one, similar in capacity to the Brixton Academy, the Hammersmith Apollo and Manchester Apollo (see table below). All of these venues are former super cinemas from the interwar years, and each has found a successful new use in today s live entertainment market. They successfully bridge the gap between the arenas and the town hall type venues; finding a good balance between intimacy and scale. We expect the Bradford venue to play the same role for the West Yorkshire Conurbation, as the other two venues have for their respective conurbations. The Bradford Live team has deep experience in modern venue workings and design, and will use this knowledge to ensure that the venue works aesthetically, acoustically, practically and, most importantly, commercially. The cost of creating such a venue will be significant, but, we think, within reach using a combination of capitalised private sector revenue streams and grant funding. The enclosed detailed information is the result of intense study of the building over many months, including numerous site visits. We are confident that our proposal will create a venue that can compete successfully in today s live touring market, and be a core pillar of Bradford s regeneration. Original Name Present name Original opening date Original opening capacity Maximum capacity today Lee Craven, Bradford Live Director Astoria, Brixton Brixton O2 academy 19/08/ New Victoria, Bradford Former Odeon 22/09/ *4000 Hammersmith Apollo Eventim Apollo 28/03/ Manchester Apollo O2 Apollo 29/08/ * Based on 0.4 sqm/person for standing. Brixton uses a ratio of 0.34 sqm per person Bradford Odeon 7

3 Bradford Odeon Summary Brief Drafted by Performance Consultant, Peter Angier of Carr & Angier This brief gives an outline of the requirements for the renovation of the Bradford Odeon so that it can once again be an asset for the people and the city. The building should become a focal point for the city centre with a living presence and regular daytime as well as evening activity. The works must facilitate commercially viable use of the building s best asset which is the large auditorium. Although other uses must be considered, particularly those which might be developed after operation starts, the principal use of the auditorium is to present live performances of the rock/pop type with a standing audience in the stalls. Alternative arrangements for the stalls area should be included, in particular with a fully seated audience or a level flat floor, to extend the range of possible uses. The adjoining ballroom and restaurant provide opportunities to present smaller scale events and to be a destination in the city centre during the day. The plan should allow the ballroom and restaurant to operate together but separately from the main auditorium and its foyers. There should be the option of linking them to the main auditorium spaces for a major event if required. The building fabric must be made sound for long term continuous use without short term remedial measures. The acoustic isolation of the main auditorium for both noise break out and break in shall be designed for the highest predictable noise levels from a rock/ pop event. Similar criteria shall be applied to the ballroom and restaurant combination and between these two spaces and the main auditorium. From an acoustic point of view the ballroom and restaurant should be considered together without specific separation. The architectural treatment of the exterior of the building must make the most of what exists to signal the return of live attractions and should use modern displays where necessary to do so. Generally the remaining decorative fragments of the original interiors should be stabilised and retained without attempting to extend them by reproduction. Faint hints of former glory in a new vigorous working environment should be enough. It may be possible to achieve a more thorough restoration of the ballroom and restaurant areas but this should await an assessment when all existing obstructions have been removed. The priority initially is to get the building back to work which means the main auditorium and its surrounding areas. The scheme should be planned so that the restaurant and ballroom could be completed in a later phase. With workability the priority, consideration must be given to truck deliveries, performer accommodation and all the needs of an incoming event and its management to make the venue as attractive to them as possible. Commercial opportunities in the building must be maximised, particularly bar sales. Performance technical installations should in the first instance assume the incoming event brings everything with it and only needs an adequate area of stage and auditorium, generous power supplies and enough structural load capacity for show suspensions. Background noise levels should assume amplification will be used for all events. The heating, cooling and ventilation systems shall be designed to modern standards with noise levels in the event spaces compatible with amplified sound. Similar modern provision shall be made for lighting and emergency evacuation. Bradford Odeon 8

4 Strategic Site Plan General vehicle access Possible bus stop location Thornton Road Truck access Possible bus stop location New perimeter development Restaurant and Ballroom as independent venues Quebec Street New perimeter development Backstage yard Restaurant and Ballroom entrance Backstage extension Main entrance Quebec Street restored as cultural route Princes Way Accessible entrance Alhambra Theatre Bradford Odeon 51

5 Ground Floor Plan Showing standing audience arrangement Alterations and new work shown in red There are three entrances to the venue: one in each of the towers, and the central cinema entrance which address Bradford City Park. The south entrance provides step free access as well as a box office, leading to a central foyer with three extensive bars. The original 1928 stairs at both ends of the foyer are restored, and in conjunction with a new lift, provide access to the upper tiers of the space. The raked seating arrangement of the stalls, as well as the sloped floor at the front are both restored: new removable seats will be installed to provide flexibility for a wide range of events. The stage will be permanently extended by 2.5m. The decorative interior will not be completely restored, but instead will be conserved in the areas where it does survive. Bradford Odeon 53

6 Basement Plan The basement is stripped out and the space used to provide the extensive toilets, plant and ancillary space required. The existing ventilation ducts and plenum are used for the new ventilation system, whilst the narrow passages which run beneath the stalls rake on either side will be used for services distribution. The area beneath the stage will be stripped and cleaned to create the space required for storage of the removable stalls. Bradford Odeon 55

7 Lower Circle Plan - 1st Floor Here there is another extensive foyer space, which again features bars on either side. The original, stepped circulation routes serving the Lower Circle space on either side are restored, with a platform lift providing step free access. The north tower room becomes a bar serving the Ballroom, whilst the south tower room houses a VIP suite and bar. Bradford Odeon 56

8 2nd Floor Plan The original position of the projection room beneath the Upper Circle is restored. This floor will be newly constructed in order to provide access to the proposed ancillary spaces on this intermediate floor. Bradford Odeon 57

9 Upper Circle Plan The Upper Circle will again be restored to its 1928 Illingworth arrangement, with the addition of a followspot area to the rear and two technical control suites on either side. There will be bars in both of the towers, which also serve as entrance points into the Upper Circle. Bradford Odeon 59

10 Cross Section Bradford Odeon 61

11 Existing Bus Stop Possible bus stop positions Notes : 1. This Drawing is to be read in conjunction with all relevant Architect's Engineer's and specialists' drawings and specifications. 2. Do not scale from this drawing in either paper or digital form. Use written dimensions only. To check drawing has been printed to the intended scale this bar should be 50mm A1 or 25mm A3. 3. Health & Safety : All specific drawing notes are to be read in conjunction with the project "Information Pack" and "Site Rules". 4. For general notes refer to Drawing No.... Key: Start Body Extents Wheel Path Vehicle Dimensions: End Vehicle name : Articulated Vehicle (FTA 1998) Overall length : Overall width : 2.55 Max. track width : 2.47 Kerb to kerb radius :6.55 Max. articulation : PLAN 1 - ARTICULATED VEHICLE MANOEUVRE INTO BAY 1 SCALE 1:250 Possible bus stop positions Start End INFORMATION ONLY NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION Rev Date Drawn Eng Issued for Information Amendment BRADFORD ODEON VEHICLE TRACKING ARTICULATED VEHICLE SHEET 2 Drawn Eng Scales Drawing No Rev P1 PLAN 1 - ARTICULATED VEHICLE MANOEUVRE INTO BAY 2 SCALE 1:250 Bradford Odeon 155 Consulting Engineers 30 Newman Street London W1T 1LT T F E

12 Notes : 1. This Drawing is to be read in conjunction with all relevant Architect's Engineer's and specialists' drawings and specifications. End Existing Bus Stop Possible bus stop positions 2. Do not scale from this drawing in either paper or digital form. Use written dimensions only. To check drawing has been printed to the intended scale this bar should be 50mm A1 or 25mm A3. 3. Health & Safety : All specific drawing notes are to be read in conjunction with the project "Information Pack" and "Site Rules". Start Key: Body Extents Wheel Path Vehicle Dimensions: Vehicle name : Articulated Vehicle (FTA 1998) Overall length : Overall width : 2.55 Max. track width : 2.47 Kerb to kerb radius :6.55 Max. articulation : PLAN 1 - ARTICULATED VEHICLE ENTRY SCALE 1:250 End Possible bus stop positions End Possible bus stop positions INFORMATION ONLY NOT FOR CONSTRUCTION Rev Date Drawn Eng Issued for Infornation Amendment BRADFORD ODEON Start Start VEHICLE TRACKING ARTICUALTED VEHICLE SHEET 2 Drawn Eng Scales Drawing No Rev P1 PLAN 2 - ARTICULATED VEHICLE LEAVING BAY 1 SCALE 1:250 Bradford Odeon PLAN 3 - ARTICULATED VEHICLE LEAVING BAY 2 SCALE 1: Consulting Engineers 30 Newman Street London W1T 1LT T F E

13 Bradford Odeon Development Report Summary This contribution to the team report covers the performance aspects of the scheme for renovation of Bradford Odeon. It describes why a large auditorium designed as a cinema has a viable future today being used for a range of events which centre on live shows of the rock/pop type. The general plan of the auditorium and stage is being retained. The variations in the auditorium stalls area necessary to give the venue the widest appeal are included. The three main forms are seated audience, standing audience and open flat floor built out from the stage at stage level. The two upper tiers are fully seated in all arrangements. The technical provision for performance has the minimum amount of permanently installed equipment, and assumes than incoming shows will bring in all their own decor, performance lighting and sound systems. There are large power supplies for performance equipment and strong points for suspending brought-in rigs on stage and in the auditorium. A new service block behind the stage has a loading bay which will take in shows from the largest touring vehicles and adds storage, dressing rooms, green room, touring company offices with a crew kitchen which can also serve banqueting. Contents 1. Introduction 2. Range of Auditorium uses 3. Stage Arrangement 4. Backstage 5. Stage Technical Facilities 6. Auditorium Technical Facilities 7. Performance and General Communications 8. Storage 9. Enhanced Performance Installations Drawings: 430/SK/4 430/SK/5 430/SK/6 430/SK/7 430/SK/8 430/SK/9 430/SK/10 GA Long Section Technical Provision GA Long Section Seating in Stalls GA Long Section Standing in Stalls GA Long Section Flat Floor in Stalls GA Long Section Ground Floor Plan Stalls level Flytower Centre Line Section Suspension Over Stage and Forestage Carr & Angier Bradford Odeon Development Report Page 1

14 1. Introduction Viable modern use of the building must centre on the auditorium and its audience capacity. A reproduced 1930s cinema auditorium will not provide the flexible facilities needed for operation today. However, a renovated and adapted auditorium with capacity for over 3,000 seated and about 4,000 with stalls standing is commercially much more attractive, particularly for rock/pop events, and could provide a regional centre serving a wide catchment area. It is fortunate that most of the existing stalls floor is not stepped and so can accommodate seats or (with seats removed) promenade. The stepped upper tiers have a row spacing which means they can be retained and achieve modern standards of comfort. An auditorium based on the existing floor structures and retaining surviving historic features of the original is the heart of the proposals. It re-uses the original tier levels and adds the simplest technical facilities needed for modern presentation. The stage plan area is adequate for modern uses but the height is restricted. The arrangement of the existing grid over the stage involves two changes of level, stepping down towards the back wall. The renovation project does not include a new stage house. The stage walls and roof are retained and the stage operation made viable with the existing grid levels used to provide strong points for brought-in rigging. The general approach to the planning and equipment for the initial stages has been to minimise cost while facilitating the presentation of the widest range of events. At the same time care has been taken to ensure that current proposals do not prevent future expansion and improvement. 2. Range of Auditorium Uses 2.1 Three principle forms for the auditorium are proposed : 2.2 Seated Audience This arrangement is the closest to the original layout and can be seen on the section 430/SK5. The two upper tiers have fixed permanent tip-up seats arranged on the original seat row stepping. The stalls area is also seated but the seats are all of the removable type. They are not fixed down but are linked together with floor tie bars at row ends. The stage riser remains at its original height which is quite high for adequate seated sightlines from the closest rows, so these have been set back from the stage front as can be seen on the section. Events with could be presented include solo artists, standup, digital film, lectures and possibly conferences. 2.2 Standing Stalls Audience This form is probably the most important of the three, particularly in the early life of the revived building. The stalls seating is all removed as shown on sketch 430/SK6. On the front flat and raked sections of the stalls the audience area is open and unobstructed as can be seen in several successful rock/pop venues currently operating nationwide. The rake gives a good view of the stage when standing or dancing. The seats on the rear stepped area are also removed but safety barriers will be fitted between alternate rows to prevent tripping on the steps. A removable safety barrier will be installed in front of the stalls area when needed to separate the audience from the stage. 2.3 Extended Flat Floor A large area of flat floor is the starting point for many flexible halls because it allows so many different types of event to be presented. In the Odeon a very simple and cost effective solution is required. The proposal will create a flat floor from rostrum units level with the stage. The arrangement can be seen in principle in sketch 430/SK7. The floor would not extend to the stalls side walls but would be rectangular, approximately 15m. wide. This simple shape is easy to create with standard platform units. Guard rails and access stairs would be fitted to each long side. This scale of flat floor, extending into the stage at the same level, would lend itself to many events including weddings, banquets and exhibitions. The front rows on the flat floor and the rows behind them on the raked floor are all set out at a row spacing to provide comfortable legroom. The stepped tiers at the stalls rear use the same seat but the row spacing follows the existing floor steps. Carr & Angier Bradford Odeon Development Report Page 2

15 3. Stage Arrangement 3.1 Stage Area and Rake The existing stage walls and proscenium opening will be retained, so the stage area will remain the same but the stage front will be extended into the auditorium to form a permanent forestage. This gives added area overall and also improves performer contact with the audience. The stage floor is raked at present. Although there are many stages which retain a rake and remain workable, a sloping floor is not suited to the staging of shows of the rock/pop type which need a firm and level floor. The stage will therefore be provided with a new floor which will be levelled from the front. The relatively high stage riser in relation to the front of the stalls is kept. This has been done partly for simplicity but also because a high stage suits a standing audience and leaves the sightlines from the upper tiers unchanged. The fully seated audience has been slightly separated from the stage to compensate for the high stage riser and provide reasonable sightlines. 3.2 Stage Grid The grid over the stage is curiously arranged and instead of running horizontally back from the proscenium wall steps down twice. As a guess this was done at a late stage for town planning reasons. The result is that there is a limited area, rectangular in plan, nearest to the proscenium wall with full 20m. height for suspensions. This area was originally equipped with about sixteen sets of double purchase counterweights and a proscenium safety curtain with drencher. It was possible to fly out a house curtain and other drapes and also the film screen. None of this equipment will be replaced but the height will be retained to allow future installation of a flown house curtain and projection screen if the developing programme requires them. 4.2 Backstage Store This general purpose area has a large sound door separating it from the stage. It can be used for flight case and other short term storage of incoming show materials. The store can also provide space for a temporary servery set up if the auditorium in its flat floor form is used for a banquet. 4.3 Backstage Kitchen This is a dedicated kitchen space to serve crew and performers working long hours. It can also be used by caterers setting up for a banquet, but it is not a full prep. kitchen it assumes brought-in prepared meals. 4.4 Dressing Rooms New dressing rooms are provided in the backstage building and existing dressing rooms at each side of the stage on the upper levels will be renovated. On the stage right side at stage level the existing room will be multi-purpose depending on the show. It could be used for dressing, quick change, props or as a stage management office. 4.5 Visiting Show Management and Other Offices Office space will be available in the new block and linked existing rooms at each side for use by promoters and production management and resident management and technical staff. 4. Backstage 4.1 Loading & Deliveries Rapid and easy loading and unloading help to make a venue attractive to incoming shows. The new backstage block behind the stage will provide positions for two 16m. artic. trucks to unload simultaneously under cover. Behind the bay is a store area which acts as a sound buffer and opens onto the main backstage store. Small deliveries and taxi drop-off can also be made to the adjacent stage door at any time without affecting loading operations. Carr & Angier Bradford Odeon Development Report Page 3

16 5. Stage Technical Facilities 5.1 Power Supplies New power supplies will be provided at each side of the stage and at high level for brought-in sound, lighting and hoisting equipment. The supplies will be terminated and sub-divided so that either heavy duty or smaller connections can be made easily. 5.2 Suspensions New horizontal steel beams will be installed at regular centres over the stage to be used when hoisting show related items such as lighting rigs, backdrops, masking drapes, video walls. Hoisting will be by chain hoists or similar brought-in equipment hanging from girder clamps on the new beams. The beams are at two levels, the lower beams are over the rear section of the stage within the sloping roof line and the higher beams directly under the old grid level which has 20m. height from the stage floor. The general arrangement of the beams can be seen on drawings 430/SK/9 & Auditorium Technical Facilities 6.1 Forestage The line of the original stage will be extended out into the auditorium to give a permanent forestage. This increases the available stage depth and enlarges the stage area. It also allows performers to move forward which improves the relationship with the audience. The additional space at each side can be used for floor mounted loudspeaker stacks or while rigging clusters on hoists. The general arrangement can be seen on drawing 430/SK/ Suspensions Strong points will be provided over the forestage generally as shown on drawing 430/SK/10. Although available for any purpose they are intended to give high load capacity at each side for loudspeaker stacks and further points across the forestage for a forward lighting truss. Subject to more detailed survey of the old roof structure it is intended to provide additional strong points in the ceiling over the stalls area for performance equipment or to serve flat floor exhibitions. 6.3 Power Supplies In a similar way to the stage, new power supplies will be provided at: Stalls centre for sound and lighting control Re-instated projection room Follow spot position at the rear of the top tier High level over the forestage 6.4 Stalls Mixing and Control Position This permanent location is positioned to give a sound mixing technician direct line of sight and hearing to the loudspeakers. It is just clear of the overhang of the tier above so that temporary connecting cables to the stage can be run round the tier front on brackets. The same brackets can also provide performance spotlight fixings when required. 6.5 Stalls Delivery Route One set of exit doors from the stalls on the stage left (North) side is at the same level as the delivery yard outside. This useful route to the auditorium is available for movement of sound mixers, rostrum units, additional seating etc. if crossing the stage is difficult for any reason. This route also gives a simple way of bringing a large cherry picker into the auditorium when the seats are removed to access the underside of the ceiling. 6.6 Projection Position The original projection position between the centre and top seating tiers exit will be reinstated. Its main purpose is to provide a position for scenic and show related effects projection. It could also be used for conventional digital film projection. 6.7 Follow Spot Position A new position for follow spots will be formed at the back of the top tier. Although it is a long throw this is the only place in the auditorium which gives the necessary combination of position and angle to the stage. Carr & Angier Bradford Odeon Development Report Page 4

17 7. Performance and General Communications 7.1 Backstage Although the installation of permanent performance systems and wiring is limited, there will be a conventional backstage calls and show relay system linking all changing rooms, corridors and offices. Calls can be made from the stage door or a small portable stage manager s desk. 7.2 General Communications & Tie Lines Tie lines for analogue signal and data will connect all the technical and management areas. General communications for public announcements will make use of the voice alarm system so that the same loudspeakers can be used for general purposes and also in an emergency. Emergency has priority but the zoning will be planned to divide the building into suitable areas for general calls. 7.3 Stage Management and Intercom An intercom system will be provided for technical communication in performance with outlets throughout the stage and auditorium. A small portable stage manager s desk will have sockets for use at either side of the stage or in the auditorium. 8. Storage 8.1 Visiting Group The visiting show needs temporary storage for the flight cases and other containers which they empty out as the show is rigged. These items can remain in unused areas of the stage, in the rear stage store and in the dock near the loading bay. Ability to store these things in the building avoids using one of the transport trailers and makes the building more attractive as a date. 8.2 Seating and Rostrum Units The removable stalls seats and the rostrum units for the flat floor all require storage when not in use. Although some storage may be necessary outside the building the intention is to maximise storage within it by opening out the area under the stage. The target is to fit at least the stalls seats in this area. The proposed stalls seat will fold and stack and can then be moved on wheeled trolleys. At the front of the stage a simple rectangular scissors lift will be installed. This lift will provide transport between the understage, the stalls floor level and the stage itself. It can be used for seat movement to storage and also for (say) a brought-in mixer being moved from the loading bay to the stalls centre. When not in use the lift will form part of the floor surface. The exact location of the lift will be determined by the most economic position in relation to existing structure. 9. Enhanced Performance Installations 9.1 Benefits The technical proposals outlined above have been kept as simple as possible to minimise cost at the outset. The reasoning behind the layout is that the larger organisations who might want to bring a show to a venue of this scale are set up to bring with them everything they need and to rig their production from scratch provided they have enough space, adequate power supplies and strong points for rigging. However, this approach can rule out events from managements which do not possess the necessary equipment and are reluctant to hire it. Separate budget figures have been given for additional performance equipment which, if available in house, would extend the range of shows which could be brought in. This equipment falls into the usual two categories of performance lighting and sound. 9.2 Performance Lighting To comprise lighting truss, spotlights, loose connecting cables, portable dimmers in wheeled racks, control desk and a range of spotlights. 9.3 Performance Sound The budget covers connecting cables, microphones, mixer, signal processing, amplifiers, left and right loudspeaker clusters. Carr & Angier Bradford Odeon Development Report Page 5

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