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SuckerPUNCH LIC Cinema Design CompetitionApril 4th, 2011

Movie theaters are currently fighting for a dwindling audience that has been seduced by the access to films at home and online, as well as by advances in television screens and home projection. Cinemas are once again engaging in technology and spectacle as a way to bring the moviegoer back to the theater. The search for unique cinematic experiences previously surged in the early 1950s with the birth and availability of the home television. Filmmakers lured moviegoers back to the theater through the use of a new aspect ratio and formats such as cinemascope and cinerama to create an experience unique to the movie theater. Currently, IMAX and 3d technologies are attempting to replicate these types of unique and spectacular cinematic experiences. The midnight movie has also had a recent resurgence driving film lovers back to the theater week after week to relive their favorite films. Movie houses across the US are reviving older cult classics and newer favorites to make the cinematic experience a performance based event.

This competition is for the design of a cinema center that will rescue the moviegoing experience from fading into obsolescence. The center will engage current trends in technology with 16 large screens and will challenge the current idea of the cinema through diverse program such as a cafe, bar, film and book store, auditorium for lectures and festivals, and an outdoor screening area with amazing Manhattan and river views.

Proposals should investigate how architecture can rethink the cinematic experience in the twenty first century through the design and integration of new technologies and their larger screens. The center should rethink the experience of the cinema as one that will foster interaction with other film lovers and will leave solitary film consumption behind. The design of the center should allow for moviegoers to socialize and linger before or after a film. Event and spectacle should return to the cinema through the integration of spaces for question and answer sessions and stages for performance into the theaters themselves. The cinema will also house meetings, classes, and other gatherings that require multimedia screens demanding that the configuration of screen, seating, and stage accommodate a number of possibilities. The goal of the cinema center is to reconceive the cinematic experience through flexible and performative spaces driven by new technologies.

April 4th, 2011

April 11th, 2011



$2500 in prizes will be awarded and the winning designs will be published on suckerPUNCH.


Paul PREISSNER [paul preissner architects]
Stella LEE [bureau V]
Gil AKOS [studio mode]
Abigail COOVER [hume coover studio, suckerPUNCH]
Nathan HUME [hume coover studio, suckerPUNCH]