Fixed Tables or Auditorium Chairs – Which is the Right Solution for Your Space?
April 28, 2020
Before designing a lecture hall or auditorium, there are several key questions that need to be addressed. Answering these questions will help you select the right fixed seating solution for your space.
As manufacturers of lecture hall and auditorium seating, we understand the importance of choosing a suitable furniture solution for your auditorium or lecture hall. In this article, we will discuss six key questions you need to answer before deciding on fixed tables or auditorium chairs.
6 Key Questions to Consider:
Is this New Construction or a Renovation?
The first consideration is to understand whether your project is new construction or a renovation. If the space is a new construction, you can design it as needed for its intended purpose. A renovation on the other hand may have some limitations in terms of what can be modified or changed. Usually a renovation requires working within a tight budget so making large scale changes to the floor or the risers may not be practical.
What is Your Target Seat Count?
In both cases, new construction or renovation, you will want to have an idea of what your target seat count is. Auditorium chairs generally take up less space, so room capacity can be higher. If you want a lecture hall type of setting and have less students but with more work surface space, fixed tables might be a great option.
How Will the Room be Used?
Will students be in the room for a 50-minute lecture or a 4-hour class? Will the students have any books, tablets or laptops? Or will they be mostly listening and taking notes? Is collaboration between students important as part of the curriculum? Fixed tables with swing away seating provide a comfortable learning space with larger work surfaces for extended learning periods. They also allow students to work together collaboratively between rows. Auditorium seating and beam seating on the other hand, will be more appropriate for learning spaces where a higher seating capacity is required and where collaboration is not as important.
How Much Space Is Needed Between Students?
This question again ties into how many seats you want in the room. Auditorium chairs usually need about 36” for front to back spacing and at least 20” on-center-spacing. Standard 18” fixed tables with attached swing away seating need about 42” front to back spacing at 27”-30” on-center-spacing. Fixed tables with loose chairs need 49” front to back per code. You can use these footprints to get a rough idea of how many seats you will be able to get into a room. Keep in mind that most manufacturers are willing to lay out the room per code and tell you what will fit.
Are Ergonomics and Comfort Important?
Ergonomics and comfort will play a major role in your decision to go with fixed tables or auditorium chairs. More students will tolerate less comfortable seats and smaller work surface for a 50-minute class than a two- or four-hour seminar class. The length of classes/lectures will also inform you on what type of seating you select. The longer the class/lecture, the more comfortable you will want the seat to be. You will also want to make sure the type of chair can accommodate all the students’ needs.
What is Your Budget?
The last question that you will want to ask is how much money do you have to spend on the furnishings for the room? Try to get an idea on what the budget is per seat. This will help you avoid spending a lot of time evaluating solutions that may not fit into your budget. There are many options out there with many price points – understanding your budget will help you work through the buying process in the most efficient manner.
As you can see, there are several key things to consider when looking for the best solution for your space. Is the project new construction or a renovation? How many people will be using the room? How will the room be used? Spacing requirements? Are comfort and ergonomics important? Finally, what is your budget? A good manufacturer will be able to guide you and make sure you are addressing each of these key items along the way.
Sedia Systems is the leading global manufacturer of lecture hall and auditorium furniture. We offer the widest range of fixed seating for the education, corporate, healthcare, government, and public assembly markets.