2022 Architecture Commission Online Meeting Minutes, October 14

Oct 31, 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    Taiwan  

Members and Guests:
Greg Cook                             USA   
Reinhold Daberto                Germany   
J Luis Ferrera                      Spain   
Tim Foster                            UK (vice-chair)   
Vincze Krisztian                  Hungary   
Jean-Guy Lecat                   France   
Jerome Maeckelbergh      Belgium  
Anne Minors                         UK  
Umberto di Nino                 Individual (Italy)   
Torsten Nobling                 Sweden (vice-chair)  
Lin Pu                                   Taiwan   
Peter Ruthven Hall            UK (vice-chair)    
Richard K Schick               Canada  
Kiem-Lian The                   Netherlands   
Maaike Westinga               Netherlands (chair)  
Jeong-Sik Yoo                   Individual-Korea (vice-chair)    
Loren Schreiber                Germany (Chair TC) 


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.

1.0    REPORT OF THE CALGARY MEETING AND TOUR (Alberta, Canada) August 2022

Minutes of our meetings, presentations and visits in Alberta had been circulated previously. Maaike introduced the tour and Peter ran through some slides of the theatres we visited and some views of the Canadian Rockies. World Stage Design was the first live meeting we had managed in 3 years so it was a relief to see all those that could attend. Six of us were able to arrange a self-planned tour after insufficient numbers had booked the programmed tour.


Maaike described this as an important moment to reflect on the recent achievements of the Architecture Commission and on what we intend to programme for the future. The discussion was open and offered many ideas for consideration.

What do we want to promote: collaboration with other OISTAT Commissions, an exhibition of world architecture, visits to theatres, a new TAC (Theatre Architecture Competition) in 2025?

There were only 15 entries to the TAC this year. After the disruption of architectural teaching, problems (and delays) in reaching out to students and young practitioners, and the difficulty and cost of planning international travel all contributed towards a lower turn-out.

Tim has been involved in the competition for many years and is keen that the competition should continue. But it needs new advocates to take it forward. The meeting agreed the merits of the TAC and that it should be continued as a positive output of the commission. It would help to develop stronger connections with OISTAT Centres for promoting the TAC, but we also need to reach out to architectural schools directly and in sufficient time. Tim pointed out that it’s a lot of work to organize the TAC. Besides finding a site and writing the brief for it, communication, promotion and publicity is at least as much work again. It will be good to do it together with a few new people.

There were thoughts about selection of the site for the competition. Does the site need to relate to the place where the AC would be meeting for WSD or for formal meetings? Or could the competition be liberated from a single site? On previous occasions when the site was a competitor’s choice it became too difficult to compare the entries. It is preferred to connect the site to the place where WSD is held. The opportunity to gain the support of local people is greater and this would be helpful to the competition as a whole.

Anne Minors suggested our concept could respond to performance in a post-Covid world as this is a universal experience and would offer new thinking on the spaces we create for performance. The proscenium still predominates as the form for the majority of theatres and this hasn’t changed despite what we have learned from the spread of diseases. Maaike added that this would be an opportunity to collaborate with Space Design and/or the Performance Design Commission to broaden the remit of the competition.

An important topic is how theatre architecture can get better integrated in exhibitions of WSD. PQ used to promote national entries of architecture but this has been stopped. Should architectural displays return representing work of a national entry or an individual in WSD? Should it be curated or incidental? Could WSD include displays of work form around the world. What benefit would it be to architects? Should this be outside a competitive environment or do we need awards to entice participation from a wider community (like USITT architecture meetings)? Could this be a simpler, informal exhibition by attending participants? This worked in the scenography Commission meetings.

PQ 2023
We, the Architecture Commission, have been invited by the curator of the Space Design Exhibition at PQ 2023, Andrew Filmer, to fill two half-a-days with a program of presentations and discussions as part of the open space on the exhibition floor (8-18 June). Maaike and Torsten spoke with him earlier in the summer and a Zoom meeting one is planned to share our ideas. We need interested people who would like to help organize this.

Torsten is keen to collaborate again with other commissions. The joint meeting in Stockholm with Scenography in 2008 is still remembered as a strong and fruitful collaboration between architects and other designers. Let us ask the other commissions how they would like to collaborate with us: ‘space design for performing arts’.

Going forward:

TAC Competition Advisory Panel – Maaike, Anne, Reinhold, Tim (as advisor, only) but we need others! Please join us.

PQ Advisory Panel – Maaike, Torsten and others… please join for the discussions too by letting Maaike know you are interested.

WSD 2025 Sharjah (Dubai) – Maaike is going to visit the site and meet the organization as well as the other chairs in February (17-22) 2023. After that we’ll have to discuss further on how we can participate and promote architecture on WSD.


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.

3.1    26-29 October 2023 Rabat, Morocco

Online presentations on 26, 27 or 28 October, between 12.30 and 14.00.
On Saturday 29th a tour is being organized; a programme would follow and has since been circulated separately.

3.2    On-line Meetings throughout 2023
Dates will be announced shortly.

3.3    8-18 June 2023 Prague, Czechia
PQ 2023

10-15 June OISTAT Hub will be a gathering place on the Island in the city centre.
A follow-on day tour to some nearby theatres would be good. Or a further adventure to Slovakia, Rumania, Hungary, Poland or Austria. Reinhold offered to check if the Cesky Crumlov baroque theatre festival will coincide with PQ dates. Peter would look into the Perspectiv tours for suggested itineraries.

Jean-Guy and others have since made contact with Romanian colleagues to see if this could become a tour leading on from PQ. It looks possible and would be a very exciting tour for AC.

3.4    22-23 June 2023 London
ABTT Theatre Show


3.5    Dates to be announced, London

Conference 2022 has been moved to 2023, and the annual trade show and seminar series will be run by the ABTT for those who still wish to meet at this occasion.

3.6    2024 Location to be Agreed
Reinhold suggested a tour of theatre in Sicily which was popular among those present. Travel Editions in UK have organised a tour for the Frank Matcham Society (UK) and may offer some guidance for a similar tour. Peter would share information.

3.7    October 2025 Sharjah, Dubai
WSD 2025 and TAC 2025 (t.b.d.)
will be held at Sharjah Performing Arts Academy (SPAA), United Arab Emirates.

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.

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.

Notes compiled by Peter Ruthven Hall with Maaike Westinga