Since cinema’s early days, the moving image projection has been a fragile, highly choreographed, and controlled event. It was not just a place sealed from the outside world; it was a transitional space between cinema’s busy sidewalk entrance and the elusive membrane of the auditorium’s screen. The space had the characteristics of both. Its design was a reflection of a particular cultural or business logic, and at the same time, it mirrored the phantasmatic space of the moving images projected on the screen. The consequence of such a game of resemblances was a highly unpredictable design strategy that, in the most potent examples, abandoned the design and architecture discourse and remained tightly coupled with the projected cinematic space. As shown in the three examples, profoundly different cinema theatre designs and typologies evolved from different cinematic backgrounds. They point to the three historical moments when projected cinematic space and actual auditoriums found themselves in perfect but highly speculative equilibrium.

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