2022 Architecture Commission Online Meeting Minutes, March 18

Mar 22, 2022

Download the minutes in PDF


1.1    This meeting was held on-line, a form we created since the Covid-19 pandemic for regular shorter meetings.

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

OISTAT Headquarters:
Szuyun Yu    OISTAT Taiwan    

Members and Guests:
Debbie Clark    UK    
Aby Cohen    UK   
Greg Cook    USA    
Joshua Dachs    USA  
Reinhold Daberto    Germany  
Tim Foster    UK   
Martien van Goor    Netherlands  
Robert Hamilton    Canada 
Louis Janssen    Netherlands    
Wes Jenkins    Canada  
Peter McKinnon    Canada    
Jason Robbins    Canada  
Peter Ruthven Hall    UK (vice-chair)    
Lisa Russell    Canada   
April Viczko    Canada  
Maaike Westinga    Netherlands (chair)   
Selma Göker Wilson    USA   
Jeong-Sik Yoo    Individual-Korea (vice-chair)    

Torsten Nobling    Sweden (vice-chair)    

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.


1.1    Reinhold Daberto spoke on Phase 0 refurbishment of Deutsches Nationaltheater (DNT) in Weimar, Germany

•    Weimar is a small city with around 80,000 population – not so large to be supporting a theatre of this scale
•    The Deutsches Nationaltheater has a resident company: variously described as Rep / Repertoire / Stock / Ensemble.
•    It stages the full range of performances: Opera, operetta, dance, musical and drama – ‘3-Sparten’ (branches) Hauser.
•    There is a separate Weimarhalle concert hall.

•    The first theatre on the site was the Altes Hoftheater in 1800. There have been several since.
•    Badly damaged in WWII, it was the first German theatre to be rebuilt and it reopened in 1948.
•    1975 there was a new auditorium design on three levels which is the one existing today.
•    Why a National theatre? Because it was the place where the first democratic constitution was proclaimed.
•    The reunification of Germany 1989 prompted merging of operations, but DNT survived its independence.
•    The important statue of Schiller and Goethe has sat in front of the theatre since 1857

•    6-8 theatres each year need to undergo renovation to maintain the national stock of theatres.
•    Special funding was made available for this monument to democracy.
•    (There has been a change of attitude to consolidate all operations at a single location. But on a restricted site. A split operation looks like more promising (which is historically the natural solution for many theatres).
•    The Redoute temporary theatre is available during works.

Data on German Theatre Operation
•    There are 220 public theatres in 125 cities offering 600 stages in total
•    The theatres employ 60,000 people in more than 50 professions
•    The annual subsidy is 2 billion Euros
•    Only15% of annual budget comes from ticket sales
•    70-85% of the budget goes on wages

•    Annually there are around 200 performances per stage
•    10-20 new productions (across the genres)
•    With 6-12 weeks rehearsal – requires rehearsal stages

Traditionally the repertory operation requires two shifts per day:
07.00 – 10.00 – dismantle the previous evening’s performance
10.00 – 15.00 – Rehearsal
15.00 – 17.00 – dismantle rehearsal
17.00 – 19.00 – set up for evening performance
19.30 – 22.30 – Evening performance

An increase in size rehearsal stages would reduce rehearsal time on stage
Also efficient transportation and logistics are important:
•    Adequate rehearsal spaces to accommodate scenery
•    Side and back stages for pre-assembly of scenery
•    Stage elevators and wagons to reduce manual work in shifting scenery
•    Quick change-over orchestra pit
•    Sufficient high storage areas
Traditionally, a stage and public facilities would be supported by workshops, combined with Rehearsal facilities but there are obvious economies if these were to be combined.

Reinhold Daberto shared this project to ask if combining or splitting operations is accepted by colleagues in other countries and if we could help his search for the optimum solution. A few suggestions were made. To be continued…

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.

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 2022.

OISTAT WSD Calgary, Canada 6-13 August 2022 - https://wsd2021.ca 
A 3-day architecture tour is planned for 14-16 August.
April Viczko introduced the activities and events for the architecture commission. She has offered a poll on suitable Canadian theatres and other buildings to be visited as well as on the amount of time spend in the National Park. Responses are required by 1 April.

Individual Visits Possible
Calgary Central Library (Snohetta and Dialog)
Calgary Martha Cohen Theatre (Architecture Commission Meeting, provisionally for 12 August).

Sunday 14 August Building Visits - Calgary
Jubilee Auditorium https://www.jubileeauditorium.com/
Studio Bell (National Music Centre) https://www.studiobell.ca/our-recording-studios?gclid=Cj0KCQjw29CRBhCUARIsAOboZbLFO422ehHNWIX0lVERyGB-Pqh7vaW4UsqUjOWaXVXqCCQ0l1xvDXQaAj8uEALw_wcB
Decidedly Jazz Danceworks
Stampede Park (BMO Centre) – Rodeo and Grandstand
C-Space https://cspacekingedward.com/ 

Monday 15 August Building Visits - Banff
Banff Center
National Parks Drive

Tuesday 16 August Building Visits - Edmonton
MacEwan https://www.macewan.ca/wcm/index.htm 
Rogers Place https://www.rogersplace.com/ 
Citadel Theatre https://citadeltheatre.com/ 
Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Center, Camrose http://camroselive.ca/

Bookings for WSD and the tour 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.

2.2    TAC – Theatre Architecture Competition
15 participants have registered for the competition. The website has had over 1,000 hits. Deadline for registration is 30 April, so we expect the most applicants in the second half of April.
There will be five members of the jury. Besides Maaike Westinga as the chair, these will be Elena Giakoumaki (Charcoalblue), Nathan Medd (Banff Centre), Tim Foster (former chair) and Jeon-Sik Yoo (vice-chair AC).

2.3    WSD 2022 Participation
Aby Cohen reported that OISTAT is mindful of sensitivities over inclusion of artists from both Russian and Ukraine. WSD is for individual designers, not for national participation. OISTAT is recognises the need not to promote non-truths and is preparing a statement on this matter.

2.4    WSD 2025
Next WSD will be held in 2025 at Sharjah Performing Arts Academy (SPAA), United Arab Emirates.

3.0    Next on-line AC Meeting
Friday, 13 May 2022 15.00 - 17.00 (Amsterdam Time)
Content: t.b.d. (suggestions are welcome)

Friday, 12 August 2022 14.00 - 16.00 (Canadian Time) live in Calgary at WSD.
Friday, 14 October 2022 15.00 - 17.00 (Amsterdam Time)

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