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News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Distinguished architects Norman Pfeiffer, left, and Malcolm Holtzman, were honored for their work at both an Architecture Commission reception and at the 2007 USITT Awards Banquet. Hugh Hardy was also honored, but weather prevented his attending the Conference.

Photo/Casey Kearns


Architecture Updates

Raymond Kent
Architecture Commission

The Architecture Commission was busy at the Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Phoenix, working on activities for the 2008 Conference, and keeping members up-to-date.

From Phoenix:

The first Student Design Competition was a great success! This competition draws theatre and architecture students together to design a performing arts facility as a collaborative effort. Students from Clemson University won this year's competition and were at the conference to give a detailed description of the process and project. Sugggestions for running the contest will be incorporated in the future. Any comments about the competition should be sent to Scott Georgeson, AIA, at

Hugh Hardy, Malcolm Holtzman, and Norman Pfeiffer received the first USITT Distinguished Achievement Awards in Architecture nominated by the Architecture Commission. Although inclement weather held Mr. Hardy on the East Coast, Mr. Pfeiffer and Mr. Holtzman were on hand to receive their awards. Anyone wishing to recommend someone for this honor can forward that person's name and a brief description of why they deserve the award to John Prokos (, Bill Murray (, or Raymond Kent ( The award is open to architects, theatre consultants, and acousticians on an individual basis (not a firm) who have advanced the art and design of performing arts facilities.

AIA/CES credits were offered for attending Anthony Shou's session on Movable Element Design. The Commission will continue to offer credit for those sessions that qualify. Watch the USITT website and Commission e-mail blasts for what sessions carry credit.

Phoenix seemed to be all about tours, and what a lot of them there were! The Commission offered a Professional Development Workshop tour of the Tempe Center of the Arts and the New Mesa Arts Center led by Michael Tingley. There was a tour of the restored Orpheum Theater where the keynote address was given. The Herberger and Phoenix Symphony tours were very successful.

On to Houston!

The Architecture Commission, is proposing a variety of programming for the 2008 Conference & Stage Expo in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Kent will chair a session, Technical Positions and Their Place in Space, in conjunction with the Lighting and Sound commissions. This session examines where best to place lighting catwalks, house mix positions, box boom, and other technical positions within a facility from a theatrical designer's perspective.

Mr. Prokos will chair the annual Architecture Commission meeting to discuss new ideas, make new friends, connect with old friends, and learn more about the design of theatres. He will also present the Distinguished Achievement Award with a reception for the Distinguished Achievement Award will be hosted by the leadership of the Commission.

The annual USITT Architecture Award Review has moved to Friday immediately following the Commission meeting. This should create fewer conflicts for members who would like to attend.

Another round of the Student Design Competition, chaired by Mr. Georgeson, will be offered in 2008. Members also will examine the design of educational spaces in a session chaired by Charles Cosler.

Laura Cabo will chair a session on combined performing arts and fine arts facilities and examine what makes a successful merger of the two. To LEED or Not to LEED - Sustainable Design, chaired by Mr. Georgeson, will look at green building practices and how to incorporate them into a performing arts facility.

Mr. Shou will chair a session with the Scene Design Commission on Acoustics in Scene Design to examine the effects of what a set designer puts on stage has on the acoustics of a room. Robert Long will chair a Slide Slam, presenting examples of both good and bad design of performing arts centers for a lively discussion.

Jonathan Darling, in conjunction with the Sound Commission, will present an acoustics primer for those who may lack understanding in this area. Mr. Kent also will chair a session on Room Automation dealing with what to do when there is a stack of remote controls to use during a performance. Michael Frank from Crestron will present the session which will carry AIA/CES credit.

The Commission is planning a special exhibit with a twist. It will be a shared exhibit with the Scene Design Commission where firms are asked to submit model boxes of the stage house and auditorium theatre projects they have designed in the last five years. The Scene Design Commission will connect forms with set designers who will design a set model to be placed in the architectural model. Architecture firms wishing to submit entries must contact Mr. Kent ( The exhibit is only open to members of USITT who will attend the conference in Houston and who plan to bring the model box and take it away after the conference.

Next year's tour sites may include the Wortham Center, The Alley Theater, the Ballet, and the Opera in the Houston theatre district.

Other Commission News

Jody Kovalick of Schuler Shook has agreed to take responsibility for the Commission's website. Look for new information on that page in the near future.

After his three-year term on the Architecture Commission, Mr. Kent will step down as Vice-Commissioner for Programming. Mr. Shou will replace him and will start programming for the 2009 conference. Mr. Kent will continue to serve the Commission in many other capacities such as the AIA/CES Liaison, Special Projects Coordinator, E-Blast Editor, and chair of many sessions.

The Architecture Commission is making an effort to communicate on a quarterly basis with e-mail blasts. To be included, call the USITT office and designate Architecture as an interest area, or do so when renewing memberships.

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