|Drawings On the Web Site||The Museum Model||Hypertext Presentation|
Henry Warren, brother of William Warren, co-founder of the Chestnut Street Theatre, was for may years a scenic artist. Henry began working at the Chestnut Street Theatre in 1806, at the age of 13, and probably apprenticed for several years under such early North American luminaries as Luke Robbins, John Joseph Holland, Charles Milbourne and John Worrell of Boston and Rhode Island.*
Making sense of these sketches of the building necessitated developing them into full-blown architectural renderings.* These drawings merely revealed how little could be said of the building with certainty.
In 1986, working with a group of undergraduates in theatre history, work was begun on a three dimensional computer model of the building. The drawing on the present web site are the result of this reconstruction.
As a result of this problem, accurately aligning the drawing and the digitizer each time we began work proved all but impossible. Over time, errors of as much as several feet in 90 feet began to appear.
Instead of the relying on the digitizer, students working on the input to the computer used dividers to obtain accurate measurements for each wall, doorway, window and stairway on the original, and entered these numerically. This effort took several students the better part of three months to complete, but provided a very accurate drawing in the computer.
Both stairways in the plan and the fenestration in the elevation (the placement of windows) helped us in determining where the various floors in the building belonged. Frequently we were able to validate our conclusions by examining plans and elevations of London's Covent Garden, upon which John Inigo Richards, the Chestnut Street Theatre's architect, drew heavily in his design.
The extruded model was wire-frame. For better understanding and visualization of the model, the wire-frame was converted to a solid model. Solid modeling in Generic 3DD was accomplished using only 16 colors. Shades of color were achieved by "dithering," a technique which juxtaposes colored pixels to create an optical blend -- white placed beside red, for example, to achieve light red or pink.
Since vector drawings generally must be viewed in a CADD program, and cannot be displayed on the WWW, dithered models, each with a highlight and two shadowed sides, were saved as bit mapped (rather than vector) files, in the "jpg" or "gif" formats, a translation which often produced bizarre results in color and contour.
All the drawings you see at this site have been reedited from the old bit mapped files, in an attempt to improve their appearance. In many instances this has involved extensive editing to mitigate the aliasing which inevitably occurs when drawings are converted from vector to bit mapped images. Except in one or two instances, color in the drawings is still achieved through dithering.
The functionality of Guide enabled researchers to develop a laser disc which accompanied the Chestnut Street Theatre drawings, allowing for the presentation of historic clothing, with actors modeling its 20th century theatrical counterpart. In addition, the laser disc included several video clips of actors chroma-keyed into 19th century toy theatres, thereby creating an excellent sense for the viewer of what might have been seen during an evening at the Chestnut Street Theatre. Finally, the disc contained numerous 18th and 19th century engravings and paintings which illustrated life in and about the theatre.
In porting the Chestnut Street Theatre project from Guide to the Web, much had to be abandoned. The decision was made to limit the Web presentation to an exploration of the theatre building.
To help keep viewers from getting lost in the building, a tool bar containing links to the plan, half plan, elevation and three dimensional views of the building from the east and west has been included at the top of each page of drawings.