2020 Architecture Commission Online Meeting Minutes

Jul 6, 2020

MINUTES OF ZOOM MEETING ON Friday, 19 June 2020 

1.0          ATTENDANCE

1.1          This meeting was held on-line because travel restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic prevented meeting in Amsterdam as intended.

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


Tim Foster    UK    Retiring Chair, Architecture Commission 
Torsten Nobling    Sweden    Vice Chair, Architecture Commission
Martien Van Gor    Netherlands     Vice Chair, Architecture Commission
Bert Determann    Netherlands     President of OISTAT
Marina Raytchinova    Bulgaria    OISTAT Board, OISTAT Bulgaria
Ivo Kersmaekers    Belgium    OISTAT Board, OISTAT Belgium
Wanjung Wei    Taiwan    OISTAT Headquarters
Ting Na Wang    Taiwan    OISTAT Headquarters
Maaike Westinga     Netherlands    Chair elect
Peter Ruthven Hall     UK    SBTD
Amalie Bulandrova    Czechia    ČOSDAT/Czech OISTAT Centre
Greg Cook    USA    USITT
Reinhold Daberto    Germany    DTHG
Monique Corbeil    Canada    CITT, National Coordinator
Umberto Di Nino    Italy    Individual Member
Selma Goker Willson    Turky/USA    Guest
Gabriele Hoeg    Germany    Individual member
Louis Janssen    Netherlands    Theatreadvies
Aleksandra Pešterac    Serbia    SCEN
Brad Steinmetz    USA    USITT
Lian The    Netherlands    VPT
Ekaterina Titova    Russia    A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum
Robin Townley    UK    ABTT
Krisztián Vincze    Hungary    Hungarian OISTAT
Roger Watts    UK    Guest
Jeong-Sik Yoo    Korea        Individual member
Kiiiz (account name)                     Mystery guest  
1. Welcome & Introductions by Chair William Kenyon & Vice-Chair Anders Larsson:a. Please check roster to ensure that we have the best email address for you.b. Meeting called to order by Chair William Kenyon & Vice-Chair Anders Larsson at 11:15 am.c. By a suggestion from Monique Corbeil, CITT Canada, all delegates in the room introduced themselves to each otherd. A sign-in sheet was made available, and a current roster of the Commission membership was circulated for corrections & updates.

Guillem Aloy    Spain     OISTAT ESPAÑA
Aby Cohen    Brazil        Individual Member
Zoran Dmitrovic    Serbia          SCEN
Todd Hensley    USA    Guest
Jean-Guy Lecat    France    UDS
Pu Lin    Taiwan    TATT
Magdalena Prieto    Chile    Guest
Juan Ruesga    Spain    OISTAT ESPAÑA
Marco Zagaria    Italy              Guest
Piotr Obracaj    Poland           Polish OISTAT

Also, noting recent participants: Janne Auvinen (Finland), Kate Burnett (UK), Randy Earle (USA), John Faulkner (UK), Jose Luis Ferrera (Spain), David Fraser (Canada), Sophie Hazebrouck (Belgium), Magdalena Kozien-Wozniak (Poland), Cheung Man Lai (Hong Kong), Lung-Kuei Lin (Taiwan), Jerome Maeckelbergh (Belgium), Peter McKinnon (Canada), Kevin Rigdon (USA).

1.3        As this was an on-line meeting this is a visual 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 info above is incorrect, please inform Peter Ruthven Hall.


2.1         Minutes of the previous Business Meeting of the AC, held in Prague, Czech Republic, at the Quadrennial on 13 June 2019 had been circulated in advance and were taken as approved.


3.1          With the retirement of Tim Foster after 8 years as chair a new chair was sought. Maaike Westinga was the sole nomination on the candidate slate but an election was still necessary for her to be appointed.

3.2          As this election was to be held on-line, OISTAT headquarters had previously sent out links to an on-line voting platform. Voting members were invited to place their votes during the meeting with the result being announced 165 minutes after the start of the meeting. (See 8.0 for the result.)

4.0          CHAIR’S REPORT

4.1          Tim Foster welcomed everyone to the meeting. Tim’s full report follows at the end of the minutes and is summarised below:

4.2          In 2019 the AC met in Prague to experience PQ and this was followed by a 3 day tour of Baroque theatres in The Czech Republic and Germany, finishing in Berlin to coincide with ‘Stage Set Scenery’. About 20 people were on the tour and we visited some extraordinary theatres including Cesky Krumlov and the Margravine’s Opera House in Bayreuth. We are very grateful to Reinhold Daberto for organising the tour.

4.3          For this year we had intended to meet in the Netherlands for a tour of Dutch theatres, organised by Maaike Westinga and Martien van Goor. That is where we should be meeting but sadly, we had to cancel due to the coronavirus. It is hoped the tour can be rearranged in 2021.

4.4          As chair of the commission Tim had also attended meetings of the OISTAT Governing Board. In the last year there was a meeting in Oslo in November 2019 and there was to have been a meeting Berlin in April 2020. This was cancelled due to the coronavirus and was held online.

4.3          The growth of online meetings brought about by the pandemic is a positive development for OISTAT. It is enabling more people to participate and is reducing our carbon footprint, but it will not replace the need for social interaction in real meeting.

4.4          As this was Tim’s last meeting as chair, he thanked everyone who had supported him, in particular his three vice chairs Reinhold Daberto, Torsten Nobling and Martien van Goor. Whilst supporting the new chair Tim will continue his involvement in the Theatre Architecture Competition, which is held every 4 years at WSD.

5.0          TAC AND WORLD STAGE DESIGN 2021

5.1          Tim Foster had been in discussion with April Viczko in Calgary to make plans for the next TAC at World Stage Design in 2021.

5.2          It is intended that the site for the competition should be at The Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, about an hour’s drive from Calgary. The Banff Centre is a unique educational organisation, which runs a wide range of courses and conferences and is affiliated to the University of Calgary. Those who came to Calgary in 2019 will have visited their beautiful campus on the edge of the Rockies. The Banff Centre have now confirmed they wish to participate but we are awaiting detailed drawings and photographs of the site. They have an outdoor amphitheatre on the campus, which they wish to re-imagine, and would be keen for this to be the subject of the competition. They have offered support by providing all relevant site drawings and information and by hosting the Jury meeting with accommodation and catering free of charge.

5.3          April has recruited a well-known local architect, Fred Valentine, who is keen to get involved with the competition and has offered his services to assist with developing the brief, the assembly of CAD drawings and site photographs and designing and coordinating the exhibition of prize winners.

5.4          Tim expressed concern about gathering sufficient site details in time and the coronavirus is now causing doubt about whether World Stage Design will happen in 2021. Ideally, the completed brief would have been sent out by now but certainly no later than in September. AC also need to raise funding. Time is tight and we need to make decisions as soon as possible. If WSD is to be delayed, then the TAC will be delayed too which would ease urgency.

5.5          A revised budget, taking into account the Banff Centre’s offer to provide accommodation and catering for the jury meeting free of charge. This requires further testing but we are asking OISTAT to contribute 10,000 euros (the same amount as the last 3 competitions) and there will be a requirement to raise about 22,000 euros from other sources. Raising this money in the post-covid-19 environment may be challenging.

Gabriele Hoegg suggested that costs might be reduced with fewer attendances in person, thereby cutting the cost of travelling; the jury sessions could also be held online if further savings are required.

Further Activities at World Stage Design:

5.6          In addition to the exhibition of the TAC prize winners, Tim hoped that Architecture would have a greater presence at World Stage Design. He has started a conversation with April about the possibility of organising a one day conference around the legacy of the Martha Cohen Theatre in Calgary. This theatre, completed in 1986, was conceived by Iain Mackintosh and was one of the first ‘courtyard’ theatres to be built outside the UK. The conference would be an opportunity to explore this legacy as it has developed around the world and it is possible that Iain might be able to attend. It might also be possible to organise an exhibition around this theme.

Maaike Westinga mentioned the meeting in Seville (2016) where there were several lectures and because the theme was a mix of architecture, education and costume the cross-over was unusually stimulating. A wider lecture programme could also be a focus for engaging a wider group of participants.

Chair elect
5.7          Any other thoughts on how the Architecture Commission might contribute to WSD would be welcome.


6.1          The Architecture Commission needs to make plans for future activities and meetings after WSD. 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. Suggestions would be welcome, but the following may offer opportunities:

·         Meeting in Amsterdam hosted by VPT, potentially rescheduled from 2020

·         Meeting in London hosted by ABTT/SBTD relating to the International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference (ITEAC), probably in June.
·         Meeting in Calgary at WSD, assuming this is to be rescheduled.

·         Meeting in Prague as part of the Prague Quadrennial

It would be good to petition for improved representation of theatre architecture within the PQ exhibition and events. But the means of presentation needs further thought and it will require funding to match. Would anyone wish to champion this cause?

This would be a good subject for a Zoom-meeting for those who are interested.
Tim Foster said ideas to increase participation were always welcomed and asked members and supporters to assist by raising the profile of the AC in their own countries. He emphasized that AC activities are open to anyone with an interest in theatre buildings.


8.1          The online voting system closed 165 minutes into the meeting and Maaike Westinga was indeed voted new chair of the Architecture Commission.


9.1          Maaike thanked Tim on behalf of AC for all that he had contributed towards the commission’s activities. There was much work to be done to benefit from the momentum of what was already planned though uncertainty about the continuing impact of Covid-19 means that meetings can only tentatively be planned. In the meantime, on-line meetings could be planned more frequently, perhaps every 3 months, with a greater focus on sharing project work. Additional Zoom meetings could also focus on projects such as involvement in PQ, TAC and events for those with a special interest. Ultimately, it is important to maintain and increase the presence and significance of the ‘A’ within OISTAT activities.


Chair elect
planned though uncertainty about the continuing impact of Covid-19 means that meetings can only tentatively be planned. In the meantime, on-line meetings could be planned more frequently, perhaps every 3 months, with a greater focus on sharing project work. Additional Zoom meetings could also focus on projects such as involvement in PQ, TAC and events for those with a special interest. Ultimately, it is important to maintain and increase the presence and significance of the ‘A’ within OISTAT activities.10.0        APPOINTMENT OF VICE CHAIRS

10.1        In support of the new chair, three vice chairs were sought. Longstanding vice chair, Torsten Nobling agreed to continue for a further term. Jeong-Sik Yoo stepped forward as a second and Peter Ruthven Hall as a third vice chair.


11.1        After a short break, three attenders were able to share current project work with those who could continue with the meeting.

Firstly, Roger Watt from Haworth Tompkins Architects in London introduced his proposals for reinvigorating Hippodromen in Malmö, Sweden. This 12-sided ‘circus’ space is set behind a façade with little street presence. The proposal gives the venue greater prominence as well as a new flexible seating configuration with a greater focus on the performer-audience relationship. End stage, thrust stage and flat floor variations will be possible within a new, more empathetic geometry within the existing structure. Torsten Nobling of AIX, Stockholm is also involved in the project.

Secondly, Selma Goker Wilson described a new costume and scenery storage facility for the Sarasota Opera, Florida. The building is sited remotely from the theatre but helps to gain recognition for the crafts that support theatre production. The approach was for a simple building on a budget to ensure that it would progress swiftly to construction. The light cladding and signage helped with impact on the street whilst providing flexible open spaces within.

Thirdly, Tim Foster of Foster Wilson Architects, London shared a conversion of an existing end- on theatre within in a London School. The available space was not generous with especially tight height restrictions, yet Tim had managed to accommodate a balcony to a variable depth thrust stage complete with proposal for natural ventilation via a rear stage extension. The project is in early stages of development so it may be possible to track progress over future AC meetings.

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 Tim Foster and Maaike Westinga



Hello everyone.

I will start with the Architecture Commission’s Mission Statement:
“The OISTAT Architecture Commission (AC) exists to facilitate communication and understanding about theatre buildings amongst architects, consultants, technicians and artists worldwide. Through communication about common interests, the commission provides forums for professional growth, develops projects and collects and disseminates information. It meets in order to exchange knowledge about theatre architecture and related technical topics. The commission welcomes participation by anyone with an interest in theatre buildings”.

One of the principal activities of the AC every 4 years is the organisation of the OISTAT Theatre Architecture Competition (TAC), which is aimed at architectural students and young practitioners, to encourage them to develop an understanding of the design elements which make a successful theatre. The competition used to be arranged to coincide with PQ but during my time as chair has been moved to a new cycle to coincide with World Stage Design. The 10th Theatre Architecture Competition took place in 2017 and was exhibited at WSD in Taipei. The next competition will be held in 2021 (we hope) and will be exhibited at WSD in Calgary. In recent years the site for the competition has been chosen in the country where the exhibition is taking place to encourage local participation (Germany and Taiwan). The competition is judged by a distinguished international jury of architects and theatre people and significant cash prizes are awarded to the winners at World Stage Design. A catalogue is prepared which documents the competition entries. Preparations are already underway for the next competition in Canada, of which more later.