Don’t you just hate modern cinemas? Compared to the intimate, cozy theaters of yesteryear, cinema’s today are too bright, too big and too open.And yet, there is a very simple reason why cinemas, and other public spaces, are bright and airy.
Blame panic for soulless buildings
Yes, vintage public buildings look cool – but they’re not all that safe. With their tight corridors and dim lighting, old buildings can become death traps if the people inside panic due to a fire or other emergency.
Throughout history, there have been many tragedies due to poor building design. For example, in 1883 over 180 children died in a crush at a theater performance in Sunderland’s Victoria Hall, England.
Only after a handful of such tragic events did architects begin to design public buildings with a panicking audience in mind; thus the large, open spaces and wide, bright corridors.
So next time you’re in a large, soulless arena or cinema, remember its lack of character is integral to your safety!
For more on how fear and panic have affected human history, including why low-income people fear death more than their wealthier counterparts, read our blinks to Fear, by Joanna Bourke.