Architecture Student
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spring | 2015

Located in East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA, I designed the Cinematek as a social hub. The various programmatic elements center around an open space "theater," challenging the formality of the theater and allowing site views from almost anywhere in the building. Users have the option to enjoy a movie from the ramp directly in front of the screen, or they can find any other spot along the continuous ramp throughout the building.

This ramp houses all other aspects of the venue, including a restaurant, two other large viewing ramps for flexible media, and a gallery overlooking everything - all with views of the large theater wall and the other gathering spaces. This ramp and the open, central theater work to connect all the gathering spaces with a common ground and encourage social interaction. 

The facade works to reveal this interior ramp to those walking along Penn Ave. Divided into four main vertical sections the facade directly relates to the adjacent interior spaces. The solid metal section on the left houses an egress stair. Next to this are three large vertical stripes that reveal public spaces, including the restaurant and gallery. The vertical stripes help to emphasize the vertical connection that the ramp and open theater create inside. The smaller stripes are adjacent to the main theater wall. On the interior, the ramp moves into an enclosed hallway behind the wall with a dramatic lighting effect from the striped openings. The facade also offsets here to reveal the slope of the ramp and to create a covering over the main entrance. Finally, there is a large, vertical, glass stripe to emphasize the corner, entrance, and lobby space, again revealing various parts of the ramp. 


As a social hub for East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA, the Cinematek strives to create a central location for people to congregate. Many iterations were created as a study for how the central theater should take shape. The original idea came from changing the general understanding of a black box for a theater where users go, watch, and leave. By activating the other programmatic spaces during the movie, people are more able to interact and enjoy the movie together in a social setting.