Wednesday, March  29, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 121

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About the Cougar

Light guides new stage design

By Eric M. Law
News Reporter

The Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture is preparing to build a stage in its main atrium as a forum to display student architectural designs. The arc-shaped stage will be named "Ground Light" and will also serve as a site for lectures, exhibitions and performances.

"The arc stage is a student project meant to create a new energy among the college and University community to create a multifunctional space in the atrium of our college," said Filippo Castore, who began the crusade for a stage venue two years ago with fellow architecture student Andy Nguyen.

Castore and Nguyen decided the best way to come up with a design was to hold a student competition, which they felt made the process more interesting and competitive. The competition was held in February between five teams vying for the right to design the stage. Students worked side-by-side with professional architecture firms for three straight days perfecting their designs.

Participating teams were then judged on a variety of criteria. The winning team was a combination of 10 students and the Wittenberg Architectural Partnership.

The winning design is a raised, glowing platform with movable partitions on top. The project's name hails from the most significant idea in the project, its lighted floor, which will bring new energy to the vast atrium.

"‘Ground Light' has a lifted and glowing (stage surface), and it was an interesting way to bring focus to the area, especially at night," said Donna Kackmar, one of the competition judges.

"Ground Light" team members were predominately seniors, which made winning even more special.

"I feel good about being part of the winning team," said Senior architecture student Jason Logan. "I am leaving my legacy at the college, and there is no better way to do it, in my opinion, than in my senior semester. I was pleasantly surprised we won -- I mean, it could have gone either way with all the diverse entries and so much talent."

Preliminary plans are for the stage to be constructed by April 30, ready for the college's convocation ceremonies. However, that date may be pushed back because of funding issues.

"We would like to raise $40,000 to construct the piece, and we desperately want to attract fabric, metal, wood and glass companies to help us construct the project," Castore said. In the meantime, the winning team has constructed a model of the stage that is on display in the Architecture Building.

For further updates on the project, link to its Web site,, or e-mail Castore at

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