2023 Architecture Commission Online Meeting, March 31

May 2, 2023


1.1    This meeting was held on-line.

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

OISTAT Headquarters:
Members and Guests:
Claire Appleby            UK    
Tim Carey                    USA    
Greg Cook                    USA    
Joshua Dachs            USA    
Wes Jenkins        
Lin Pu                           Taiwan    
Peter McKinnon         Canada    
Anne Minors                UK    
Torsten Nobling         Sweden (vice-chair)    
Markus Reisinger       
Peter Ruthven Hall    UK (vice-chair)    
Loren Schreiber        USA (chair Technology Comm.)    
Roger Watts                UK (guest)    
Maaike Westinga       Netherlands (chair)    
Jeong-Sik Yoo            Individual-Korea (vice-chair) 
Chen Yuyi                     Taiwan    
Expo Mushroom         Czechia (guests)    

Reinhold Daberto       Germany    
Tim Foster                    UK (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. The 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. 

1.0    Maaike gave a presentation on meetings in Sharjah in February 2023

Maaike visited Sharjah for 5 days for OISTAT Governing Board meetings. Based at Sharjah Performing Arts Academy visits were arranged to Historic Sharjah, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, La Perle in Dubai (Dragone show), Museum of the Future in Dubai and Dubai Mall.

Discussions on TAC (Theatre Architecture Competition) finding, WSD Architecture Exhibition and Theatre Tour. Also future collaboration with other commissions. Theatre tours could include: Khor Fakkan Amphitheatre, House of Wisdom (Foster & Partners), Dubai Opera, Sharjah Desert Theatre Festival, Floating Theatre Kalba (under construction).

Meetings on TAC are going to be held on-line with WSD team. Maaike hopes to find a good location in Historic Sharjah.

2.0    Presentation by Design team:  Petra Ciencialova (Plus One Architects), Cyril Dundera, Matej Jansky on Expo Mushroom

Winners of Czech pavilion winner for Osaka Expo 2025, Japan. First open call for submissions.
Collaboration between different designers.
The Mushroom – shape, construction, canopy, shelter, mycelium – could make a connection between Japan and Czechia cultures hence being used as the theme. The main space is created over, within and under the enlarged mushroom structure with a part-concealed support building with restaurants (serving mushrooms!), offices etc. Curved CLT construction possible in Japan. The stand is tactile, fluid in form and accepts projected imagery. The structure us enhanced with bespoke mushroom-inspired furniture.

3.0    Presentations by Roger Watts for Haworth Tompkins Architects, UK
Lightroom, Kings Cross, London, UK

Lightroom, Kings Cross, London, UK
Design began in 2017; project opened in January 2023.
The building was Intended as a 600-seat theatre for the London Theatre Company who also programme the adaptable Bridge Theatre in London. Covid made the new theatre temporarily unviable and so a partnership with 59 Productions has produced this immersive environment.
The large sound-proof volume occupies 3-4 storey partly in the basement. Downstand beams support offices above. The volume is expressed as a copper wall in the foyer. Long corridors help acclimatisation into the darkness.
The space is featureless for projection. Light grey walls (not white).
59 Productions designed levels within the space to offer viewing positions of the projections. Projectors map images onto the walls with minimal impact of shadows.
3D auralization from two concealed speakers at either end. Floor is carpeted and reduced footfall sound.
First show is about and by David Hockney. It lasts 60 minutes and is looped.

Malmo Stadtsteater, Sweden, Haworth Tompkins with Torsten Noblin
120 year old ‘people’s palace’, began as a circus hippodrome. Then theatre, church and back to a theatre in 1993. It is a 12-sided space and had poor sightlines behind a ring of inner columns, ensemble space, poor acoustics, the hot spot for performers was 4-5m back from front before they could communicate with their audience. It was set back from the street behind another building with a poor connection to city, inferior public areas.
HT introduced a new steel structure with fixed risers, retractable seats for the front 3 rows (for largest flat floor) and modular platforms and movable seating. Formats include proscenium and thrust stage options with a large flat floor. The main bank of seating is more steeply raked and a second gallery tightly squeezed in above. Stalls vom entries can be filled in with extra seats/
New acoustic absorption is fitted within the joists to expose roof structure.
Side walls have shaped panels stepped and striated, to avoid focusing of sound
Horseshoe foyer under the rake has exposed timber, copper bars and acoustic insulation concealed between joists. The foyer offers a public face to the street and links with a new enclosed courtyard direct to the theatre.


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, a few digital meetings each year will be added to the program.

4.1    On-line Meetings throughout 2023

Friday 15 September 15:00-17:00 Central European Time
Friday 24 November  15:00-17:00 Central European Time

4.2    5-8 June 2023
SHOWTECH BERLIN, international trade fair with congress theatre of tomorrow | Station Berlin

Please check:  SHOWTECH - The World of Entertainment Technology

4.3    7-8 June 2023
ABTT Theatre Show, London, UK

Please check: https://www.abtt.org.uk/abtt-theatre-show/

4.4    8-18 June 2023 
PQ 2023, Prague, Czechia

Please check: https://pq.cz/programme/

4.5    10-15 June 2023: 
OISTAT Hub and Commission Meetings

Wednesday 14 June 2023, 10:00 – 14:00:
PQ / Oistat Multidisciplinary Workshop > Register now!
Deadline registration:14 May 2023
Go to the OISTAT website: https://www.oistat.org/news_detail.php?id=1167&mode=&Page=1
And fill in the form: https://forms.gle/rnJJCU2Yt4vABvmi7

Thursday 15 June 2023, 13:30 – 14:30:
Architecture Gathering (Meeting) at OISTAT Hub.

Thursday 15 June 2023, 10:00 – 15:00:
PQ / IFTR, Flash Talks, Performing Grounds Forum: Insettling Cultural Landscapes & the Spatial Politics of Assembly.
Including a talk by Iain Mackintosh (perhaps as one of the longer PQ Talks series)

Friday 16 June
09.00-12.00 tours available of Prague State Opera (National Theatre) with Pavel Dautovský, Technical director
Saturday 17 June
09:00-16:00 tours available of Prague State Opera (National Theatre) with Pavel Dautovský, Technical director

4.6    13-15 September 2023
Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle UK

Victorian and Edwardian Theatre in Performance: music and machinery, stagecraft and spectacle: www.tynetheatreandoperahouse.uk

4.7    19-20 September 2023
ITEAC 2023, London and on-line

ITEAC is the International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference, a global forum to look at the places we make and experience performances.
Based in London and cities around the world, the conference will include both live and digital events. See at: https://www.iteac.info/events/iteac-2023/
ITEAC 23 will look at three themes driving dramatic change in theatre and theatre space:
•    Environmental Sustainability
•    The Digital Revolution
•    The need to connect with Communities

4.8    2024 Location to be Agreed

Looking ahead, there is much interest in visits to Sicily and Romania.

Sicily – potentially three days
Last time Reinhold said he is researching a tour of theatres in Sicily. Travel Editions in UK organised a 7 day tour for the Frank Matcham Society (UK) with the following itinerary.

Modica Teatro Turi Ferro
Modica Teatro Garibaldi
Ragusa Ibla Teatro Donnafugata
Vittoria Teatro Comunale
Noto Teatro Comunale
Avola Teatro Garibaldi
Syracuse Teatro Comunale
Catania Teatro Bellini
Catania Teatro Sangiorgi
Catania Teatro Metropolitan
Catania Cineteatro Odeon
Catania Ancient Roman Theatre and Odeon
Option to visit Mount Etna
Messina Teatro Vittorio Emanuele
Taormina Ancient Greek Theatre

Romania – potentially 3 or more days
We have guidance from Jean-Guy Lecat, Umberto di Nino, Nic Ularu. and a new Romanian OISTAT Centre with Romanian theatre contacts to help plan this visit.

Bucharest ARCUB
Bucharest The Bulandra
Bucharest Circus
Bucharest National Opera House
Bucharest National Theatre of Bucharest
Bucharest Odeon
Bucharest Old Jewish Theatre
Bucharest Teatrul Metropolis
Braila Teatru Maria Filoti in the east
Iasi National Theatre (JGL) in the north east
Peles Castle Court Theatre in central Romania
Sibiu Fabrica de Teatru in central Romania
Cluj-Napoca Teatrul Național Lucian Blaga en route to Oradea
Oradea Teatrul Regina Maria in the north east
Debrecen Csokonai Forum (just across the border in Hungary
Debrecen Csokonai Theater (also in Hungary)

4.9    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 should 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. 
For questions, suggestions or to schedule a presentation:
ruthvenh@gmail.com; maaike@tenbraswestinga.nl