2021 Architecture Commission Online Meeting Minutes

Mar 11, 2021




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   
    Wan Jung Wei                              OISTAT Taiwan 

    Guillem Aloy                                 Spain                                                    
    Roxana Balas                               Romania/Netherlands                       
    Debbie Clark                                UK                                                             
    Tim Foster                                    UK (retiring chair)                            
    Bert Determann                         Netherlands (President)                         
    Robin Glosemeyer Petrone     USA    
    Martien van Goor                       Netherlands    
    Andy Hayles                                 UK  
    Gerry van Hezewyk                    Canada    
    Louis Janssen                            Netherlands    
    Ivo Kersmaekers                        Belgium   
    Cyril Lamy                                    France/Vietnam    
    Jerome Maeckelbergh             Belgium 
    Peter McKinnon                          Canada    
    Anne Minors                                UK    
    Torsten Nobling                         Sweden (vice-chair) 
    Aleksandra Pešterac                Serbia   
    Lisa Russell (TAC)                      Canada
    Peter Ruthven Hall                    UK (vice-chair) 
    Roel ten Bras                              Netherlands
    Roger Watts-Guest                   UK  
    Maaike Westinga                       Netherlands (chair) 
    Jeong-Sik Yoo-Individual       Korea (vice-chair)    
    Selma Göker Wilson-Guest    Turkey 
    Markus Reisinger                      Germany   

    Lian The                                      Netherlands 

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.

1.1    Lisa Russell, co-ordinator of TAC for World Stage Design 2022, introduced the project to the meeting.
Tim Foster shared discussion about developing the competition brief. The current proposal is rooted in an existing outdoor space and could be enlivened to attract a larger number and more diverse entries. Tim is in discussion to achieve this. Submissions will be required by May 2022.


Three attenders were able to share current project work.

2.1    Firstly, Jong-Sik Yoo from Seoul introduced a number of projects: performing arts paces created inside six disused round oil tanks in a park in Seoul (capacity up to 200 seats, a 150 seat theatre within an old church in Chuncheon City with the first tensioned wire grid in Korea, and an online virtual reality performance for three Korean actors and one US actor, ‘Ae-Re in Otherland’.

2.2    Secondly, Roger Watt from Haworth Tompkins Architects in London introduced proposals for The Court Theatre in Christchurch New Zealand. This project was designed over Zoom as no visits were possible. The 2011 earthquake severely damaged the central district of Christchurch including the old theatre that was subsequently demolished. A new site has been provided near the cathedral and close other arts and leisure buildings. The new theatre included a 350 seat auditorium and a smaller 120 seat studio. The corner stage format is popular with the designers and one of the potential audience-performer configurations possible. The front of house and backstage spaces are planned to adapt to the changing priorities of users so that the programme can fit onto the compact site. Roger also described designing in an earthquake zone with sheer walls sitting on a flexible raft that is designed to move with the tremors. Otherwise, construction needs to be light weight. The new building will provide a new theatre that reminds us of the old one. 

2.3    Thirdly, Cyril Lamy (scenographer and architect) showed his proposals for the new Ha Long Impression Theater in Vietnam. This 2500 seat theatre sits in the bay (a Unesco site) with an infinity pool as part of the stage to merge with the bay beyond. This open air theatre is for one specific show – the Ha Long Impression – which will run twice nightly with 20 minute break between them. There is a single tier of seating under tensile roof cover to a wide stage for up to 600 performers, many volunteers from the region. The staging involves music, acrobatics, projection and light. The backdrop is the bay which is lit for the show from floating devices. The project is waiting approval before it can proceed.

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.


3.1    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.
This year OISTAT Congress and WSD are separate. Congress will become a digital event over several days: 8-13 October 2021. WSD is still planned for 6-13 August 2022.
After the presentations we discussed possible ways to show the AC at the Digital Congress. Suggestions would be welcome, but the following may offer opportunities:

•    We are researching if we can arrange a virtual tour of the venues that we had planned to visit in the Netherlands at our annual meeting last year. 
•    8-13 October: OISTAT Digital Congress – see below in item 4.

•    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, still planned for 6-13 August 2022.

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.


We are looking for ideas to fill in some blocks in the program (mainly days 5 and 6) to share AC activities: Show the ‘A’ in OISTAT!

For day 1 (looking back 4 years since last WSD) Maaike suggested presenting an overview of the tours we’ve made. We have to think about how we can do that. The lively discussion produced a number of good suggestions for activities.

•    Louis – events to attract students and younger people,
•    Tim – discussion of the TAC brief and design issues to be addressed,
•    Pecha Kucha – short presentations of projects or subjects,
•    Roel – more crossover with other OISTAT disciplines; maybe presentations and a panel discussion across several commissions.
•    Masterclasses – presentations on topics rather than projects (e.g. sightlines, acoustics, lighting, technical installations, public space, backstage etc.)
•    Breakout rooms to discuss individual topics with presenters afterwards,
•    Selma – record presentations or pre-prepared films and use as an online resource afterwards,
•    Louis – Provocations. A controversial personal view is expressed to generate a lively discussion,
•    Tim – a building user’s perspective. What works, what doesn’t work. What would you do differently?
We have to think about this further. Indeed, maybe with a smaller group for those who are interested.

Notes compiled by Peter Ruthven Hall with Tim Foster and Maaike Westinga