Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A theatre in your room!

You don't need to walk into multiplex theatres if you're yearning for those digital decibel levels to conquer your sound tastes. The same aural pleasure can be experienced at home with meticulous planning.

JUST HIGH TECH: The home theatre room can be custom designed as an exclusive space for having a brush with electronics or for family assembling.

Imagine sitting in a star ship, at the captain's deck, watching on the giant screen all the so-called dangers that are fast approaching the ship, just like the star trek series! This enjoyable drama can be recreated in our homes with the new home-theatre-technology.
Last week, we had talked of the undesirability of placing television sets in living rooms, but there is more to the idiot box than just watching movies. Improved sound technology and affordable prices are making home theatre systems popular even with the middle class.
But there has to be more to the home theatre room than just going there once in a while to experience the technology. This room is not a dark concealed space, it is rather a room with all the comforts of a cinema hall. It also acts as an intimate family gathering space and a multi-activity zone.

Positioning of home theatre

The home theatre room can be custom-designed as a totally exclusive room or a modifiable room which otherwise may act as a family living room. In most cases, a combined room may be a preferred choice due to cost or space constraints.
The modifiable room can be a home theatre room along with a family room, hence it could ideally be located next to the living room and the dining hall. The room can be created as a single space adjoining the dining hall but partitionable by means of a sliding or swing door.
A split-level room would be giving that space a lot of liveliness and also the necessary space definition. This level can be 2' to 3' raised from the adjoining floor level.

Quality space

Home theatre rooms can be one of the liveliest rooms of the house, as the colour and the materials can be trendy and vibrant. An informal seating arrangement with lot of room for lying and lazing around, is ideal.
Floating decks and overhanging rooms are also possibilities and it also helps to create the right mood, just like the home theatre in the photograph featured here.
The home theatre is just above the living room, the glass wall is detailed with an artistic etching and painting which also flows onto the door pattern. The home theatre room, apart from TV viewing, can be coupled with other activities like playing computer games or video conferencing.
Additional provisions like the wiring system could ensure a broadband wire connection also in this room.

Best materials

Preferably the height of the room could be kept low (8' 6" to 9' 6"). A square form for the room can be combined with set-in shelves which are partly covered and partly opened for better acoustics.
Similarly, the floor area can be kept as free as possible with lots of floor cushions, low chair and beanbags for a cozy clutter-free space. Even if we are going in for some furniture cushioned or upholstered, wooden furniture could be added to have a good acoustic system. Care should be taken to install a silent air-conditioning system as otherwise the noise of the window AC may interfere with the listening pleasure. The preferred choice for the floor would be wooden, costing Rs.150- Rs.350 per square foot depending on the durability and the warranty which also help in running all the wires easily, even in case you do not go in for a false ceiling.

And the lighting...

Soft lighting without glare, that is, a down lighter or up lighter can be used. Day light can also be used, but the glare on the TV screen has to be avoided. Provision for a plasma screen or a WI -FI DVD player may just be a few things you could have as add-ons for future development.
The author is the Chief Architect of Murali Architects, Chennai

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