In some cases, the client is starting with a brand new venue and wants to fill it with world class amenities to wow their audiences. In other cases, a historic theater is due for an update, and the client's wish is to restore it to its former grandeur. Clients will also have specific outcomes in mind when it comes to acoustics, seating styles, and the number of people a space can hold.
Designers, architects, and contractors start out by considering both the client's expectations and the realities of the space they are working with. Often, with some changes and compromises, the most important parts of the original expectations can be met while keeping a space both safe and functional.
Consider, for instance, the renovation of the Old Main Hall at Feed Hardeman University. The building was constructed in 1907 and is a designated National Historic Landmark. The seating in the Chapel Hall was installed sometime in the 1920s-30s. While this seating had beautiful decorative standards that the client wanted preserved, there were updates that needed to be made for both functionality and comfort. Irwin Seating Company stripped the standards down to bare metal, then added a sleek powder coating. We also refinished the armrests and added a space for new donor plates to honor those who contributed to the university. Finally, new seats and seat backs were added that echoed the shape of the originals, but they are a little wider for a more comfortable patron experience.