The Revitalization of the Neighborhood Movie House and It's Role in the Community, The Avalon Theater, Chevy Chase D.C.

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2003-12-22

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The movie has traditionally been an important part of American mass culture. It has reflected the changes that have taken place in American life since the turn of the century. Entertainment and the entertainment industry depended heavily not only on the entertainment value of a movie, but also the architectural and social experience of going to the movie theater. In the 1950's, television surpassed the movie as the top choice of entertainment for the American public. By the 1960's grand movie palaces as well as art deco neighborhood movie houses all across the United States began to disappear. By the early 1970's, "mutli-plexes" with many screens were placed in shopping malls and strip malls, and took on more of a regional rather than a community role. I propose an addition and renovation to the Avalon Theater, a neighborhood movie house in Chevy Chase, D.C., to reintegrate the movie-going experience with a community focus thus reinvigorating this important 'place' of American mass culture.

This thesis will incorporate a master plan for the block, and a program that will expand the services of the traditional movie theater by establishing exhibitions, and integrating retail and/or office space, along with community spaces in an attempt to enliven the area during the day, as well as at night. It will also involve looking at the Avalon Theater in a larger context as it relates to the stretch of commercial development along Connecticut Avenue south of Chevy Chase Circle.

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