The 3 Basic Elements of Auditorium Design

Empty auditorium

Auditoriums are arguably the most complicated spaces to design. While the audience may perhaps attribute a good performance to the skills of the performer, in truth, it’s the perfect combination of excellent acoustics, unrestricted sightlines, impeccable lighting, and of course, the performer’s skills. This means that other than the artist, architects largely impact how successful performances will be.

A good auditorium design is key to a successful performance. Here are the crucial elements of auditorium design:

Stage Visibility

No matter how good performers are, if audiences can’t see them, it’s a waste. It’s important for architects to ensure that the stage and screen are clearly visible from any seat in the auditorium. A clear line of sight can be achieved with staggered seating and sloped floors.

For the screen height, it depends on the length between the screen and the last few seats. The ideal height is ⅙ of that distance, since having shorter than that would make it difficult for audiences to see what’s in the screen. Of course, a high-resolution and high-brightness projector are also a must.

Audio Design and Engineering

This is what often makes the most impact on audiences, especially those who are particular about sound quality. It’s important to enhance the acoustics of the walls and ceiling of the auditorium. When designing the sound system, noise level and echoing should be considered, especially for huge auditoriums, which have higher reverberation time. Otherwise, the clarity of sound will be compromised. Some designers use acoustic absorption panels to reduce unwanted sound reverberations.


Lighting on stage is important not just in ensuring visibility, but also creating the right ambience in the space. The audience is able to appreciate the drama and mood of the performance when lighting is done properly. Proper lighting also highlights set design and improves its aesthetic details. Lighting system usually includes floodlights, spotlights, lasers, wash lights, and moving heads.

These are the essentials to achieve good auditorium design and the ingredients to good performances as well.