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Institutions That Project Their Identity Into Built Environment
Deborah Aydon (Liverpool Everyman Theatre, GBR)
Gary McCluskie (Diamond Schmitt Architects, CAN)
David Howarth (DRDH Architects, UK)
Guo Chenzi & Lynn Fu (Yue Opera Town, CHN)
Annette Mees (Royal Opera House Covent Garden, UK)
Brand definition, brand awareness, brand projection. How can a building embody and project the identity and values of an institution? How can we make sure that our buildings ‘say’ what we want people to ‘hear’ or ‘feel’? What do our building say about who we are? And how does this affect the viability, sustainability and impact of our institutions? Of our creative output?

Deborah Aydon (Liverpool Everyman Theatre, GBR) As CEO and Project Director, Deborah steered Liverpool’s Everyman theatre into a new incarnation, which opened in 2014. Designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects, the new Everyman has won numerous regional, national and international awards, including the RIBA Stirling Prize – the only time a theatre has done so. The judges said, “the success of this exceptional new building lies in the architect's close involvement with the local community… it is a ground-breaking example of how to build a daring, bold and highly sustainable large public building in a historic city centre”.

Gary McCluskie (Diamond Schmitt Architects, CAN) In thirty-three years at Diamond Schmitt Architects, Gary McCluskie has developed expertise in a range of building types focusing on the public realm including performing arts, academic, community and recreation, cultural and museum, commercial and residential. He is a member of the Ontario Association of Architects and the American Institute of Architects and has been a Principal with Diamond Schmitt since 2003. His impressive portfolio of experience with performing art facilities includes his role as the Managing Principal for the 2,000-seat Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto which is the first purpose-built opera house in Canada and is home to the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet. Gary was also the Managing Principal for the award winning Harman Centre for the Arts, a flexible 800-seat facility for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C. Additionally, Gary was the Design Architect for the 630-seat performing arts centre in Richmond Hill, the 700-seat Burlington Performing Arts Centre and the 2,100-seat La Maison Symphonique, home to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on the site of Place des Arts. He was the Design Architect on the new 2,000-seat Mariinsky Theatre II, part of the renowned theatre company in St. Petersburg, Russia. Gary recently completed the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, ON. Gary was a lead designer for the London Symphony Competition for the Centre for Music in London, England. Mr. McCluskie was a lead designer for Diamond Schmitt’s competition entry for the design of the Xiqu Centre in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. Gary lead the design team (in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio) for the new David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Centre and was recently the managing principal for the feasibility study of David Geffen Hall.

David Howarth (DRDH Architects, GBR) David Howarth is co-founder and director of London based DRDH Architects. The practice has completed a number of award winning international cultural projects, including a new concert hall, theatre and a city library in Bodo, Norway, which received the Norwegian State Architecture Prize 2015, an RIBA Award for International Excellence 2016 and was nominated for the Mies van de Rohe Award 2017. In Belgium DRDH are leading the project to renovate and extend the historic Bourla Theatre in Antwerp for the Toneelhuis Theatre Group, building a new concert hall for the Bijloke Music Centre in Ghent and are shortlisted for the restoration of the Ghent Opera House. In 2016 DRDH were finalists for the prestigious BCI Swiss Architecture Award, a prize recognising significant contributions to contemporary architectural culture

Guo Chenzi (Yue Opera Town, CHN) Guo Chenzi is an associate professor at the Shanghai Theatre Academy and is engaged in playwright , drama criticism and dramaturge. Visiting scholar of Florence University and Florence Academy of Fine Arts. Her works covers drama , musical and theatre review. Published works are Kunqu -Previous Life Seen in this Life, The Moment is not Forever—Chenzi Guo Collected Plays, The Curtain Rises-Chenzi Guo Drama Critic Collection. ITTA initiated by Shengzhou Yue Opera Town Culture & TourCo.,Ltd.,Zhejiang,China,in 2017 it is a non-government and non-profit academic organization.She is the Secretary General and the director.

Lynn Fu (Yue Opera Town, CHN) With over ten years’ experience in the arts and culture field, Lynn Fu is a Shanghai based independent performing arts programmer and consultant, working with various theaters, festivals and organizations in China. One of the major projects is the Yue Opera Town located in Shengzhou, Zhejiang, the birthplace of Chinese Yue Opera. She used to work at the British Council in Shanghai and New York for many years. After relocating to China in 2016, she served as the head of international programs of Wuzhen Theatre Festival in 2017 and Great Theatre of China in 2018. She also represents Modern Maori Quartet, Auckland based award-winning vocal group in China that has successfully toured in China in the previous two years.
Lynn holds an M.A. in Arts Administration from Columbia University with full scholarship. She also studied in France, Japan and Korea. Lynn is passionate about cultural diversity – she speaks four languages and has travelled to 40 countries around the world.

Annette Mees (Royal Opera House Covent Garden, GBR) Annette Mees is an award-winning artist and immersive theatre director. She is known for her experiential work across art forms mixing live and digital experiences. She is currently the Head of Audience Labs; a new department at the Royal Opera House dedicated to creating new immersive experiences using new technology. Before that she was an Creative Fellow for WIRED and The Space. She was the Guest-Artistic Director of the Danish Inspiration Lab and worked on the IK-prize wining Sensorium at Tate Britain. She started her career as one of the co-Artistic Directors of Coney. She likes creating interdisciplinary teams of exciting people that normally don’t get to work together. She has led teams mixing a wide range of specialisms including artists, designers, theatre makers, academics, politicians, thinkers, futurists, creative technologists, AI experts, film makers, historians, curators, producers, advertising agencies, magicians and once an astronaut.