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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

This dramatic photo of the interior of the Starlight Theatre at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois shows just part of what helped the project earn a Merit Award in the USITT 2005 Architecture Awards competition. Click here to see a larger image (DSL recommended for download) that includes the audience and performance areas.

by Barbara E.R. Lucas
PR & Marketing Manager


Eight Projects Chosen for
USITT Architecture Awards

A non-traditional performance space was chosen to receive USITT's highest honor in architecture, and seven additional theatres will be honored with Merit Awards in the 2005 United States Institute for Theatre Technology Architecture Awards competition.

The sole Honor Award will be presented for Machineworks Theatre for Time Based Art (TBA) Festival 2004 in Portland, Oregon designed by BOORA Architects. The "found" performance space was designed for the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts.

The second annual TBA Festival saw an empty warehouse transformed into a temporary theatre and performance space. A 200-seat theatre was created from "reclaimed, reusable, and recyclable materials" within the space, while other performances and gatherings took place on a smaller cabaret stage, café, and bar that occupied the rest of the warehouse. The warehouse structure remained virtually unchanged when the festival concluded.

This project was achieved primarily through donated design and construction time, talent, and materials on a budget of less than $1,000 excluding technical equipment.

Seven projects, located in the United States and Europe, will receive Merit Awards. The Bengt Sjostrom/Starlight Theatre, Daniel Arts Center, Hackney Empire Redevelopment, Lookingglass Theatre, New York-New York Hotel & Casino, OPERAEN, and Schauer Arts & Activities Center were chosen by members of USITT's 2005 Architecture Awards jury to receive the prestigious prizes.

Representatives from all eight projects have been invited to participate in USITT's 2005 Conference & Stage Expo in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on March 16 to 19. The Architecture Commission has scheduled a special session on Saturday, March 19 to explore the diverse nature of the award winners, and the awards will be presented as part of the group's banquet that night.

Each of the award-winning projects will be represented at a display as part of USITT's Stage Expo, and be on view March 17 to 19.

This is the 12th year USITT has sought out the best in new, renovated, or reused spaces for special recognition. The awards are open to all theatre and performance space projects completed in the past 10 years.

The awards recognize the buildings themselves along with the architects, associate architects, theatre consultants, and acoustical consultants who worked to create them.

Architect for the Bengt Sjostrom/Starlight Theatre, owned byRock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, is Studio/Gang/O'Donnell with ACD Theatrical as rigging installer, Damon Atwood as rigging consultant, Barbizon Lighting Companyas theatrical systems consultant, and Sound Investment as acoustical consultant.

Ann Beha Architects designed the Daniel Arts Center for Simon's Rock College of Bard of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Theatre consultant is Fisher Dachs Associates with acoustical consultant Acentech, Inc.

Tim Ronalds Architects designed the Hackney Empire Redevelopment in London, England for Hackney Empire Ltd. Carr & Angier served as theatre consultant with Arup Acoustics as acoustical consultants.

Lookingglass Theatre at the Water Tower Water Works in Chicago, Illinois is owned by the Lookingglass Theatre Company. Morris Architects/Planners serves as architect with Schuler Shook as theatre consultant and Talaske as acoustical consultant.

Marnell Architecture was the project architect with Cirque du Soleil providing the architect design for the New York-New York Hotel & Casino theatre in Las Vegas, home for Zumanity Auerbach Pollock Friedlander is theatre consultant with PMK Consultants as acoustical consultant.

The Danish state owns OPERAEN in Copenhagen, Denmark. HLT/ Henning Larsens Tegnestueare project architects with Theatre Planning & Technology Ltd. as theatre consultants and Arup Acoustics as acoustical consultants.

Schauer Arts & Activities Center in Hartford, Wisconsin has Holabird & Root LLC as architect, with Schuler Shook as theatrical consultants and Yerges Acoustics as acoustical consultants.

The 2005 Architecture Awards jury included Jack Diamond of Diamond + Schmitt Architects, Inc. in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Robert Essert, acoustician, founder and director of Sound Space Design in London, England; and Joshua Dachs, principal of Fisher Dachs Associates of New York, New York. They met under the auspices of William Murray, AIA, principal of Pfeiffer Partners, who is USITT's Architecture Vice-Commissioner for Awards.

Applications for next year's Architecture Awards will be available on the USITT website later this year. The winning projects will also be featured in an upcoming issue of TD&T.

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