The 62nd World Science Fiction Convention

  • Sept. 2-6, 2004
  • Boston, MA

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March 14, 2003

Planning Notes: Space 1.0

On March 1, the Noreascon committee held a Gulp on space planning. Space planning for a large convention is like assembling the pieces of a puzzle - you start by tentatively laying out the biggest pieces, and then as you fill in more and more of the details, you sometimes find that you have to juggle or adjust things here and there. So when reading this discussion, keep in mind that these are our current thoughts, but some things could easily change between now and the convention.

We have available to us the second and third levels of the Hynes Auditorium and most of the Sheraton with the exception of the Back Bay Ballroom (where the Boskone art show and dealers room was located). While we have some space in the Marriott, we are expecting that we will not use that (except for peripheral items) so as to keep the majority of the convention within a compact area.

We expect to use the Hynes third level Ballroom for the Art Show and special art exhibits. The space is large enough to hold 640 panels, which is much more than we would need and larger than any previous Worldcon Art Show. (An added plus is that particular space has a cheaper rental fee if used for exhibits rather than programming.) The third-floor hallway is a gorgeous well-lit space that could also be used for special exhibits such as the Fan Gallery.

On the Hynes second level, the Auditorium will be the venue for the traditional big events: the Hugo Award ceremony and the Masquerade. Room 200 has first-rate access to the Auditorium, and some dressing rooms, which would make it useful for Masquerade staging, pre-Hugo function area, etc.

As we did at Noreascon 3, we expect to use Hall D for the Dealers' Room and Hall C (which has a direct connection to the Sheraton) for the Fan Concourse. However, we would like to expand the Concourse so that it spills out into the huge corridor (shown on the map as the Hall C Registration Area). As with Noreascon 3, we would fill the Concourse space with exhibits, member services, fan tables, food and drink carts, and as many other interesting things as we can think of. Room 210 was a performance area (Club SF) at Noreascon 3, and we could use it that way again.

On the Sheraton second floor, we are thinking that the Grand Ballroom would be a good site for films and large presentations. There is a built-in film booth, and we could set it up with a stage to use for various live demonstrations and performances that we have in mind. The nearby Liberty Rooms could be used for smaller film tracks, such as anime (leaving one open to provide access to the Ballroom). We also considered using the Republic Ballroom for gaming, as it could be broken up into several spaces for different types of games, and is close to the Prudential mall (for quick access to food). We might use the nearby Independence Ballroom for filking. The Pre-Function foyer outside the Constitution Ballroom is a pleasant space that could be used for evening social events.

The Beacon complex on the Sheraton third floor might be a good space for babysitting, as it is in a quiet area, but still close enough to be easily accessible in an emergency. The Sheraton third floor has direct access to the Hynes.

This still leaves many, many smaller function rooms in both the Hynes and the Sheraton for all the various tracks of programming and for whatever operational offices we might need to establish.

As the title says, this is only round 1 of our space planning process; for the next year or so we'll continue to work out more and more of the details. Stay tuned for further developments.