Although North America and Europe have long been leaders in building signature performing arts facilities, one of Wenger Corporation's partners in Latin America is helping raise this region’s profile through a number of notable projects.
Growing Trend. “For years a trend of theater renovation has been growing in Latin America,” says Juan Pablo Rozo, architect and founder of Arquitorium in Bogotá, Colombia. “Many iconic 19th and 20th century buildings with obsolete and unreliable technologies are being renovated.”
These updates include automated rigging, elevating platforms, fire-suppression technology, LED lighting and state-of-the-art acoustical shells. He expects almost every medium-size Latin American city and all the large ones will likely see their performing arts venues transformed in the coming years.
“With our mastery of the latest trends and technologies, Arquitorium is strengthening our position as one of the region’s leading consultants in architecture and theatrical engineering,” comments Rozo. “We expect to play an important role in this transformation during the next decade.”
Developing Potential. Arquitorium is dedicated to providing solutions for performing arts and music venues. Along with acoustics, the firm’s services include theater consulting, rigging, stage lighting and drapery design. Rozo started the company in 2014 after working for 12 years at another Colombian firm he helped launch.
Although mainly active in Colombia, Arquitorium has the capacity to tackle projects in any Latin American country. They have participated in projects in Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru, where they recently opened an office to have a greater presence.
Rozo believes performing arts projects in Latin America are being led by Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia and increasingly Peru. “They all have a lot more potential to develop,” explains Rozo, adding that other regional countries are in a maturation process; he expects important projects will be coming in the medium- and long-term future.
Until the middle of the 20th century, Rozo says that the Latin American performing arts market was mainly inspired by European theaters’ architecture and technology due to the strong arts tradition. In the second half of the 20th century, however, he believes North America became an increasingly strong influence due to the technological developments and new projects. That trend continues today, aided by geographic proximity and rising prevalence of the English language in Latin America.
Delivering Excellence. Recent Arquitorium projects include Diva® acoustical shell installations at these venues: Teatro Nazas in Mexico; Teatro de la Opera in Maracay, Venezuela; Teatro Fundadores in Medellín, Colombia; and Teatro Loja in Ecuador.
Rozo says all were successful, even with very short installation times from four to six days. “Like all custom projects, there are always challenges and particular requirements that we must solve and satisfy,” he remarks. “Having a good, strong team with extensive support allows us to deliver on time with the expected excellence.”
In addition to these shell projects, Arquitorium handled the rigging design of Teatro Colon in Bogotá, the renovation of the Santa Marta Theater in Colombia and the design of the Moyobamba Theater in Peru. Other upcoming Latin American performing arts projects are expected soon in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama.
Achieving Quality. As a partner with Wenger and J.R. Clancy in Colombia, Arquitorium encounters local, low-cost competitors that appeal to customers’ desire for economy but deliver inferior quality.
“Wenger products have become a point of reference for new clients to understand the quality standards we can achieve,” Rozo explains. “These clients also demand that their projects do not suffer in quality or support just to save a few dollars.”
Rozo says Arquitorium designs and installs products that need to ensure the users’ safety and well-being. These products must endure a constant and not always delicate use, while always looking great and ready for the performance. Products also must not need frequent replacement, both for the related costs but also because of the financial loss that results from downtime at heavily scheduled performing arts venues.
“People equate Wenger with quality, technology and service,” says Rozo. “The brand is a point of distinction.” He adds that customers proudly show others their Wenger systems because having the best products aids their facilities’ reputations.