Built-In Flexibility for Sustainable Assembly Spaces

Date: 09/12/2022


Data from Performing Arts Centers in North America indicates that they are only used at 34% of their annual potential capacity, with an average of 2.4 shows per week, a figure that is reportedly even lower for Convention Centers. The constraint on most of these facilities is that they are designed for a single type of event with fixed audience seating, well suited either for conferences or performance events, but not for other additional types of events. In contrast, modular and flexible venues that suit a broad range of events will lead to further expansion of event programing.  According to Duncan Webb, President of Webb Management Services, Inc., this is less related to the prime function of the venue, but more likely related to non-traditional events such as award ceremonies, cabaret shows, corporate banquets, municipal events, or teaching seminars – programed during weekdays (less marketable days) and multiple events within a single day.

Not so long ago, the complexity of the reconfiguration process (time and labor required to move large seating banks) combined with the requirements for storage, prevented most venues to be designed to host multiple types of events. Strong technological advances led to several improved solutions over the last twenty years, with minimized downsides and greater adaptability to facilities of all kinds and sizes: theatres, concert halls, festival halls, community centers, banquet halls, headquarter buildings, casino showrooms, teaching facilities, convention centers, arenas, parliamentary buildings… A truly flexible hall can be rapidly converted, for example, from a multi-tiered seating configuration for a business presentation in the morning into a flat floor space for a noon conference luncheon, and then into a traditional audience chamber for an evening public performance.

Space conversion methods serve therefore as a convenient solution for facilities to create diverse bespoke events in untraditional formats and to respond to constantly evolving demands and audience expectations.

Also, it is not sustainable to build and maintain several single-use venues, each optimized both in terms of size and specific needs for different types of events and audiences. Moreover, compared to halls with fixed audience seating, multipurpose venues can easily triple the number of offerings per year by being kept full and active during the whole week at different times. The earnings from these additional events and their related food and beverage revenues have helped facilities considerably in their efforts to achieve greater financial sustainability.

Thanks to the rapid transformation of the halls and the minimal use of manpower, the return on investment is faster and justifies the initial investment on multipurpose venues.

We can therefore affirm that multi-purpose spaces;

“Strengthen partnerships within the community by providing spaces for local events”

“Develop audience by bringing new groups of people inside the facility”

“Bring opportunities to more sustainable buildings”

“Improve ongoing financial performance of the venues”

“Support its mission as a corporate or community-serving asset”

Scroll to Top