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Winners of the student architecture competition are shown with Scott Georgeson, right, in front of some of the winning entries, which were displayed as part of Stage Expo in Houston, Texas.

Photo/Tom Thatcher


Architecture Competition
Student Winners Named

Scott F. Georgeson, AIA
USITT Architecture Commission

The second annual USITT Architectural & Theatre Student Design Competition, sponsored by the Architecture Commission was a highlight at the USITT 2008 Conference & Stage Expo. Convention attendees had a chance to review international submissions displaying innovative theatre designs and share expertise with the young designers.

The Magnet Group from the Gdansk University of Technology in Gdansk, Poland, took first place among three finalists for successfully considering both the technical and aesthetic aspects of designing "an ideal theatre for the teaching of professional theatre."

Open to any student at an accredited United States or international architecture program, the competition asked participants to form a team composed of at least one theatre student and one architecture student. With the theatre student serving as the "client" and the architecture student serving as the "design team," the entrants developed solutions for a $20 million center for performing arts with approximately 600 seats for campus productions. Through this collaborative design process, architecture students learned the technical and artist requirements of designing a performance space, as well as how to market their professional services to a client. Theatre students learned how to present their programming needs to an architect as they gained insight into the design process.

To publicize the competition, invitations were sent to 117 NAAB schools of architecture and 40 professional schools of theatre. Additional notices were sent to the architectural and theatre press, and a direct link created to the Architecture Commission web site.

More than 150 inquiries from students and faculty members from 16 states and 21 countries were received and 20 submissions from six states and five countries, including Poland, Italy, Greece, Germany, and Indonesia.

The nationally-recognized jurors, meeting in Chicago this January, included Joe Valerio, FAIA, architect; Larry Kirkegaard, FASA, acoustician; and Robert Shook, ASTC, theatre consultant. The jurors chose three finalists that included, in addition to the Magnet Group of Gdansk University of Technology, Adaptable Arts of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and Spaces of the Mainstage, also of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Magnet Group

Gdansk University of Technology, Poland
Andrzej Prusiewicz, Faculty design team member
Magdalena Jurewicz, Student design team member
Agata Jewstafiew, Client member

Spaces of the Mainstage

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Bryan Diehl, Design team leader
Marie Dupain, Design team member
Kelly Crandal, Client member
Megs Zintek, Client member
Justin Peters, Client member

Adaptable Arts

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dan Makouske, Design team leader
Ryan Menghe, Design team leader
Kelly Crandal, Client member
Megs Zintek, Client member

The finalists received $1,000 to travel to the 2008 Annual Conference & Stage Expo where the Architecture Commission selected the winner. The Magnet Group received an extra $500 as winning entry. All submissions were displayed at Stage Expo.

This year's competition drew increased interest with the 20 final submissions comparing favorably to last year's three submissions. Nest year the competition focus will be on sustainable design. Increased marketing efforts will include a dedicated web site with e-mail and contact, a Competition Committee, and potential sponsorship.

Stay tuned for the 3rd Annual USITT Architectural & Theatre Student Design Competition in Cincinnati in 2009.

Scott F. Georgeson, AIA, is competition chair. He is a theatre architect with HGA Architects and Engineers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He will chair the third annual Architectural & Theatre Student Design Competition for 2009.

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