2022 Architecture Commission Online Meeting Minutes, January 21

Jan 25, 2022

Download the minutes in PDF


1.1    This meeting was held on-line because travel restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

1.2    The following participated in the video conference meeting using ‘Zoom’ technology:

OISTAT Headquarters:
Szuyun Yu    OISTAT Taiwan    

Members and Guests:
Roxana Balas    Romania/Netherlands   
Gerbrand Borgdorff    Netherlands    
Terry Brochard    Netherlands    
Debbie Clark    UK    
Greg Cook    USA    
Joshua Dachs    USA    
Bert Determann    Netherlands    
Martien van Goor    Netherlands    
Louis Janssen    Netherlands    
Wes Jenkins    Canada  
Ivo Kersmaekers    Belgium
Peter McKinnon    Canada  
Anne Minors    UK   
Umberto di Nino    Individual (Italy)  
Torsten Nobling    Sweden (vice-chair)   
Peter Ruthven Hall    UK (vice-chair)    
David Staples    UK    
Kiem-Lian The    Netherlands    
April Viczko    Canada    
Selma Göker Wilson    USA    
Maaike Westinga    Netherlands (chair)    
Jeong-Sik Yoo    Individual-Korea (vice-chair)   
Margarita Gavrilova    Russia   
Nicholas I    

Tim Foster    UK    
Rinehold Daberto    Germany  

As this was an on-line meeting this is a record of those that joined the meeting for part of it, if not for the full duration. These contact details will be added to the OISTAT circulation list for the Architecture Commission. Anyone wishing to be added to this list or to update their details can email OISTAT HQ with a request. If any address above is incorrect, please inform Peter Ruthven Hall.

Two attenders were able to share current project work and writing.

1.1    Firstly, David Staples on his recent publication, Modern Theatres 1950-2020

David started by describing how theatres and opera houses have become more curvaceous over the years. This might have been triggered by rivalry between 1960s airlines and their designs for iconic terminal buildings that broke the norm of rectilinear forms. What followed was a fascinating comparison of architectural forms for performing arts buildings from the past 70 years, many of which David and his colleagues at Theatre Projects Consultants had collaborated on. Despite the radical changes in external appearance, the interior form of the opera house is largely unaltered. The subtle and more striking details were then illustrated in photos from the book with insight and amusement at how these buildings were brought to fruition.

David concluded by remembered his colleague of 40 years, Alan Russell who passed away just before the New Year.

He also reminded attenders of the ITEAC - International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference - hosted by ABTT/SBTD, in London in June 2022.

1.2    Secondly, Lian The introduced us to her experience of guiding the refurbishment of Nijmegen’s City Theatre, Staddsschouwburg.

Nijmegen is in the east of The Netherlands. The City Theatre was designed by Bijvoet and Holt, 1955-1961, opening April 1961. Lian is adviser to the project with Toornend Partners. It was conceived in the Brutalist style with what was considered state of the art equipment and technology. 60 years on the building needs renewal. Over-painting of the concrete has reduced its impact and other materials which were probably considered modern in their day haveout-lived their function: wicker balcony fronts seem out of place, as do the textural changes in the flooring of the public areas. Proposals recognised the value of working within the contraintsof the existing structure but adding new construction for cost-effective additional area. In order to justify the considerable expense to public funders (€25.5m), she used a 5-tier strategy for costing rather than categorise the project by materials or areas: Safety, Maintenance, Sustainability, Improved Functionality, Heritage Value. So far this has won good support. The project is awaiting approval. Technical improvements will begin immediately but wider design is potentially scheduled to recommence in 2024

Presentation of work is to be encouraged and could become a more prominent feature of on-line meetings. Please consider this in anticipation of when we next meet.


2.1    The Architecture Commission needs to make plans for future activities and meetings. AC aims to meet at least once a year to provide an opportunity for anyone with an interest in theatre buildings to meet, to visit theatre buildings and to hold meetings and seminars with local practitioners. Besides that, we’re getting more and more used to the digital ways of meeting, so a few digital meetings each year will certainly be added to the program.

Maaike has set up a new schedule for the online meetings in 2022. The next opportunity for the OISTAT Architecture Commission to meet in person – as well as on-line – will be in Calgary for World Stage Design, postponed from last year.

OISTAT WSD Calgary, Canada 6-13 August 2022 - https://wsd2021.ca
April Viczko introduced the activities and events. Basecamp will include the scenographic displays as well as the submissions for the Theatre Architecture Competition which is jointly managed with the Architecture Commission. Scenofest will run in parallel.

The delightful Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary has been booked for Architecture Commission Meeting (provisionally for 11 August).

A 3-day architecture tour with start with Calgary theatres, travelling to Banff Centre to visit the new Jenny Bellzberg Theatre, then coach through the mountains and Jasper national park to Edmonton, returning to Calgary and an unusual LED theatre and the Calgary Stampede venue – tentatively over 13-15 August.

Bookings can be made for hybrid face-to face events as well as on-line attendances. The cost difference is minimal so if you are uncertain about travel you can still register and decide later. Registration and hotel reservations are already open; talks, meetings, performances will be available for booking from May.

Next on-line Meeting
Friday, 18-Mar-2022 15.00 - 17.00 (Amsterdam Time)
1. Reinhold Daberto: Neues Deutsches Theater Weimar
2. t.b.d.

Suggestions to increase participation are always welcomed so please assist by raising the profile of the AC in your own country. AC activities are open to anyone with an interest in theatre buildings.

Notes compiled by Peter Ruthven Hall with Maaike Westinga