Crown Glenview 10
Glenview, Il

The theater is constructed on the site of the former Glenview Naval Air Station, a training facility for Navy aviators. Although very active during the Vietnam war, the station became a target for military cost savings in the 1980’s. After almost 60 years of operation, it closed in the early 1990’s and the property was sold to developers in 1997. The developers, who must have gone “ga-ga” over the thought of over 4000 acres of prime Chicago suburb land becoming available,  wasted no time developing every square inch they could. The theater is among the last areas being developed, after hundreds of homes, a convalescent home, a school, business offices, restaurants, department stores, shops, a supermarket, and a fire department were constructed. Construction of the theater began in Jan of 2003. Here is a photo of the outside shell of the building on a snowy day.

A view looking down the street in front of the theater. In the background, the aircraft control tower shows this was where the runway was. The tower building will be kept, with the tower itself becoming an restaurant. Landscapers and utility services digging up the ground reported finding many aircraft pieces buried in the dirt.

Inside the building shell, the roof is being placed. The building is constructed with 8ft x 60ft concrete panels which are hoisted vertically, then supported with angled rods until the panels can all become structurally solid by bolting to the roof frame. The steel work for the projection room floor is also seen.

A view of four auditoriums before the walls are put up. The lower half of the stadium seating will be fabricated with just steel 2x6’s, but the upper half requires structural steel. The auditorium on the far right is small enough that the stadium seating there will only be made with steel 2x6’s. The dirt in the foreground has been graded in preparation for the concrete pour which will create the floor slope down to the screen.

This photo shows what will become the hallway leading to each auditorium. The wooden ladder on the right is the only access to the projection room level at this time.

A view of one of the smaller auditoriums from the projection room. The rods supporting the outside wall panels are no longer necessary and have been removed. A concrete pour is about to be done in the area girded with reinforcing rods. The curved wooded form will create the transition from the “flat” floor area in front of the screen, to the slope upwards to the ground floor in front of the stadium seating. The area shown is not quite the full auditorium, as there will be an exit hallway under the speaker platforms here. Note the two exit doors on the right; the far one for the hallway and the close door for this auditorium. Orange spray paint shows the room number referenced on the building drawings.

The double-wall construction separating one auditorium from another. Two rows of steel 2x8’s separate each auditorium. The idea is to create a sort of “box within a box” to reduce sound from leaking into other auditoriums. The contractor started adding backing panels for the surround speakers; he had almost all of them up before we told him this was not the right way to do it! This required new panels to be added later. The large opening on the right is to allow lifts and other large equipment to pass form one auditorium to the other. As each auditorium is finished and the equipment no longer needed,  the equipment will be “backed out” and the openings closed up with sheetrock.

A sectional view of the double-wall construction. While this design is good practice, a small mistake was made; The studs should have been staggered rather than being placed directly across from each other.

A close-up of the sheetrock at one of the large openings for equipment. The contractor was asked to cut back each successive layer of sheetrock as shown. The layers of sheetrock should be staggered so the joints do not line up with each other, providing a path for sound to escape.

This is a photo looking down on the lobby and concession stand. The floor is actually dyed concrete. A thin layer of special cement is placed, and while still wet, a dye is sprinkled and spread with water and a trowel. To keep different colors from bleeding into each other, a dam is inserted in a slot milled between sections. The splotches will go away as the dye spreads.

On the outside, a rectangular brick pattern is cut into the wall panels and then painted.

The projection equipment arrives. Since there’s no street or sidewalk, a forklift with a boom extension is used to move the equipment into the lobby.

The equipment is placed in the projection room. This will be a fairly easy projection room to work in; all ten projectors are in one large room. No stairs!

One of the two projector platforms for the large auditoriums. The platforms were made large enough to allow for the addition of the inevitable digital projector to the left of the 35mm. At every projector, the studs in the wall have already been framed out (but covered with sheetrock) to accept another port window later.

The large lifting equipment is no longer needed, so they are backed-out of each auditorium, and the openings between get closed up. On the left, the screen and masking frame are being assembled.

 Usually, hard surfaces are avoided in auditoriums to prevent sound reflecting and creating high reverberation times/echo. The thought generally is it’s it better to be too “dead” than the other way. But we decided to try to “liven” up the auditoriums a little with four pylons placed on each side wall. To reduce side-to-side reverberation, each pylon face is on an angle; the top tilts out. Otherwise, the usual duct liner is placed on all walls. The contractor has placed the plywood backing for mounting the surround speakers, and the low-voltage contractor has run the surround speaker wires. The seats are in; there’s still a lot of dust flying around, so every seat gets a plastic baggie to keep it clean.

Typical baffelette behind the screen; the two large auditoriums have full baffle walls. The other eight auditoriums have an exit hallway under the speakers, so designing the speaker baffles for a curved screen was a little complicated. Note one of the struts for the screen frame ended up directly in front of a speaker, so a section was cut out and the strut ends bolted to the baffle. The angle of the pylons can be seen on the far right.

Projector and screen setup. All screens have “scissors” masking, where the top and bottom move together such that the horizontal center stays the same in both flat and scope. In this photo, the masking is set to flat while the scope opening is being projected. Note the curved shadow at the edges; the PK60D has a baffle next to the shutter, and with a 30mm anamorphic lens installed, the corners of that baffle had to be filed out.

Lobby gets finishing work. The face of the candy stand is all stainless steel panels. At the far left side is the box office with four terminals. The floor dye has been covered with a clear protective coating. Carpet will fill in the area on the left. Beyond the doors is a two-level parking garage for over 1000 cars.

Hallway leading to each auditorium. Above, a vaulted cove will have pictures of Navy aircraft flying overhead. At the end of the cove, on the wall, is the “SMPTE clock sweep” idea used to number each auditorium.

One of the two large auditoriums. We have two of the DTS closed caption “rear window” and descriptive narration systems, and they can be moved to any auditorium. We used dual-channel Williams infrared headphones for the regular audio (hearing impaired) and the other for the descriptive narration. A switch on the headphone selects the channel

Typical audio rack at every auditorium, with Dolby CP650, Williams infrared sound system, Odyssey audio distribution units, DCM-1 crossover/monitors, QSC-DCM amplifiers. We have stopped placing the audio equipment in the consoles because there’s not much room for expansion and the cramped space makes it difficult to troubleshoot problems. For speakers, we use JBL 4675C’s, 4645C subwoofers and 8340 surround speakers. Projection equipment is Kinoton PK60D projectors mounted on Neumade consoles with Maxi12 automation, Neumade platters.

A 12inch flex duct connects to the 8inch opening on the top of the console. It may look strange, but the larger the ducting, the slower the roof exhaust fan needs to run. This design should allow the roof fan to turn at leisurely 400rpm for a long life, while providing about 700cfm. The ducting is clear so operators can see if the lamp is on from far away.

Finishing the front entrance in time for public opening on Friday, Oct 24 2003.

Special thanks to Fred Derf for the pics.