Movie Theater Design Competition

Submission: March 31, 2016
Registration: March 31, 2016
Language: English
Location: Doylestown, PA, USA
Prizes: 1st Prize: US $1,000, 2nd Prize: US $700, 3rd Prize: US$ 300
Type: Open


This ideas competition asks participants to design a facade and street presence for a new addition to the historic 1938 County Theater in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

The County Theater, Inc. has recently acquired the property adjacent to the theater (formerly “Poor Richards”). We want to use this new property to expand the theater. We propose adding a third movie auditorium, an expanded lobby and concession stand, a multi-purpose community and events room, and upper story office space.

The purpose of this competition is to generate creative ideas for the facade of this expansion. (For the purpose of your proposal, assume that you have a clean slate, i.e., that the current Poor Richards building will be torn down.)


In proposing a facade and street presence for our expansion, please address the following design considerations:

1. Harmonize with the Historic Theater. The County Theater is an iconic art deco building built in 1938. How can the addition be designed so that it looks like it is part of a single theater complex?

2. Consider the context of Doylestown. The County Theater serves as an anchor for downtown Doylestown. This addition/expansion will be one of the few new buildings built in the downtown in the last 50 years. How should the new exterior respond to this historical and architectural context? Or should it not attempt to do so?

3. Address how the addition fits functionally with the historic theater. We assume that patrons will still enter through the front doors of the original theater and will then flow out to the addition’s new expanded lobby space. Will the addition have its own separate entrance or will its front doors only be exits? Or will things be turned around?

4. Address the Pedestrian Experience. Doylestown sidewalks are mostly narrow, but the proposed expansion presents an opportunity to increase the sidewalk width for pedestrian or other usage. How can this project best enhance the pedestrian experience along State Street?


The building cannot exceed 30′ in height. The addition’s facade cannot sit forward of the current theater set back from the street. Show where the doors will be located and whether they will be entrances or just exits. Show how the new building relates to the existing County Theater and to the commercial building to its east. Show how any upper office floors fit into the facade or are set back.


There is no stated budget constraint for your proposal. However, entrants are asked to consider strategies and solutions that can be implemented by a nonprofit organization.


Your proposal must be presented as two (2) PowerPoint slides. Your slides must not include ANY information that may give away your identity. The slides must include the following minimum requirements:
· (1) colored exterior perspective views
· (1) street plan & front elevation
· Project narrative of 300 words or less
Your proposal may be supplemented by one (1) additional PowerPoint slide. That is discretionary and not required.


Registration Open – Feb 1
Submission Deadline – Mar 31
Awards Announced – April 15
Public Viewing – April-July


Three prizes: First – $1000; Second – $700; and Honorable Mention – $300 prizes.

All designs will be shown on line. Winning designs will be shown on the County Theater’s screen before all shows at the County Theater for at least 60 days and will also be shown in a special public display for at least 90 days.


No fees. Entry materials and instructions can be accessed below.


The ideas and drawings submitted to the County Theater shall become the property of the County Theater and the entrant waives any legal right to the submitted design. Winning entries have no guarantee of being used for construction, nor should a winning applicant have any expectation of being hired to work on the project.

Go to the competition’s website