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The Mesa Arts Center, whose north view is seen here, will be part of the day-long tour sponsored by the Architecture Commission.

Photo/Courtesy Mesa Arts Center

by Raymond Kent
Vice-Commissioner for Programming
Architecture Commission


Architects Plan Conference Sessions, Change Leaders

The Architecture Commission will have its first Professional Development Workshop (PDW) at the 2007 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Phoenix, Arizona.

This PDW will be a tour of the newly-constructed Mesa Arts Center and will include a performance at the Herberger Center. Dinner will not be included to allow time to explore the area and local cuisine.

As part of the regular Commission programming for 2007, there will be a tour of the Dodge Theater and Phoenix Symphony Hall. These facilities are very close to the Phoenix Convention Center, so take advantage of the location to see these wonderful spaces. The Architecture Commission is co-sponsoring a session with the Sound Commission to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of having certified AV designers for projects and whether certification is right for the USITT membership.

The Architecture Commission is in the planning stages of a Student Design Competition. Come to the session where these designs will be talked about and presented. Design professionals are always faced with the challenge of unique spaces, so the Commission will host a session on designing in unconventional educational theatre spaces and their impact on the educational process. Using the Mesa Arts Center as an example, a panel discussion of the complex nature of designing multiple venue performing arts centers will be presented by the project's architect, Michael Tingley of BOORA Architects.

The flexible theatre space is certainly one of the most challenging design problems, and there will be a session this year on designing around the needs of these types of spaces. Breathing Life into Old Bones - Restoring Historic Theatres will be presented by Paul Westlake, FAIA, who was the architect for the restoration of the Balboa, Coronado, and others. He is also on the board of directors for the League of Historic Theaters (LHAT).

Come hear Claude Andre Roy of Cirque Du Soleil discuss his design work with the famous organization.

The Conference is also where the prestigious USITT Architecture Awards are presented. Come see the competing designs and meet the winners! The Architecture Commission also will present its first Distinguished Achievement Award to an architect who has demonstrated an exceptional career in the design of performing arts facilities. This award will be given at the annual meeting (Friday morning) with a reception to congratulate the winner Friday evening. Check the USITT website for tentative session times and more information.

The Architecture Commission has new leadership. John Prokos, FAIA, from Gund Partnership has taken the helm from Michael Tingley, AIA, of BOORA Architects, as the new Commissioner. Raymond Kent, CTS, with Westlake Reed Leskosky, remains as Vice-Commissioner for Programming. Bill Murray, AIA, from Pfeiffer Partners also stays as the Vice-Commissioner for Awards.

The Commission is looking for someone interested in becoming the new Vice-Commissioner for Membership. It would require some time commitment and attendance at the
Annual Conference each year. Anyone interested should contact Mr. Prokos or Mr. Kent through the USITT Architecture Commission.

The Architecture Commission is pursuing continuing education provider status with the American Institute for Architects (AIA). USITT's Commissioners Fund with the backing of Kim Williamson, Vice-President for Commissions, has provided a grant to support that effort. Commission leaders hope to receive notification within six to eight weeks. Upon approval, the Commission will submit the Architecture Commission Sessions to AIA/CES for AIA Continuing Education Credit. Plans are to have this in place for Phoenix.

For up-to-date news on what's happening with the Architecture Commission, visit its website at

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