December 15, 2014 | Written by: Rose Mary Su and Scott R. Jordan

Cafegymatorium: The One-Size-Fits-All Approach for Schools

In schools where space and/or budget are limited, designers have to be creative with space planning. Often multiple uses are addressed by a single, large assembly space to get more value from these spaces. In lower schools, such as K-8, the most common combination is the amalgamation of the auditorium with the cafeteria or a gym. These hybrids can make sense because most of the time the two functions do not conflict in schedule. Unfortunately, the savings in space comes with inevitable compromise for the acoustics of the performing arts space. If your school is taking this combination approach, let’s call it the “cafegymatorium approach.” There are a few acoustical and audiovisual system design considerations to evaluate in order to provide the right kind of balance.

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