By: Irving Pichel (1891-1954)
As people live in a house, Or work, day after day, in a store or factory or public building, they become used to inconveniences, bad arrangement, and lack of proper facilities. They complain for a time, perhaps, and then forget. And after a while, when the house has become home, or the large building has gathered tradition, a sort of admiration settles upon it. What is really plain ugly or wrong or bad appears quaint and full of "atmosphere." And is imitated. Style and tradition embalm the very features that make the building a bad building.
To-day, by a concerted movement throughout the country, hundreds of community houses are being planned as war memorials. These buildings are designed to include facilities for all the social and recreational interests of the communities they will serve. Practically all of them will include stages and auditoriums. At the same time, hundreds of new school buildings are being planned, and these, too, will have stages intended to be useful for dramatic productions. But unless architects have at their disposal much more technical knowledge of the producers' requirements than in the past, it is certain that most of these auditoriums and stages will be bad-as are the auditoriums and stages in most existing schools. It is to forestall some of the common mistakes that this paper has been prepared-to describe them in detail, and to set up against them the ideal features toward which the designers of such structures should strive. - Summary by Irving Pichel