Students take top prize in ideal theatre design competition
Architecture students Ryan Linne, Mshail Ahmed, Britten Churchill and Dennis Bukowski, and theatre student Ben Wetzel earned the Commissioner’s Award for their redesign of NDSU’s Askanase Hall.
“The obvious benefit to the students in participating in a design competition of any kind is the real need to tailor their work to the needs of an external agency,” said Mike Christenson, associate professor of architecture, who helped direct the project. “This is uniquely valuable experience in a professional degree program.”
Under the direction of Christenson and David Crutchfield, assistant professor of architecture, and Mark Engler, assistant professor and technical director for the Department of Theatre Arts, several architecture and theatre students collaborated to design their ideal theatre. There are no current plans for a redesign and renovation of Askanase Hall.
The team looked at campus facilities and toured local theatres to help come up with their final design. The wish list included a larger proscenium stage with flyspace and catwalk, bigger scene and costume shops, storage rooms, larger classrooms and a new design studio.
The winning design, which was helped along with input from several students in Christenson’s studio class, substantially renovated the 1960s brick building. It included an addition and a new façade with a three-story glass atrium over an expansive lobby.
“I am always happy to talk about this experience with the students and I think it has also encouraged a few to pursue theatre designs in their own projects,” Christenson said. “Next year, these same students will have the opportunity to define their own design project. So we’ll see whether there are any theatre designs.”
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.