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Theatre Designer and Acoustician Russell Johnson Dies

by FOH Staff • in
  • News
• Created: August 14, 2007

NEW YORK — Russell Johnson, the founder of Artec Consultants and widely acknowledged as one of the world’s top theatre designers and acousticians, died on Tuesday, August 7, at his apartment in New York City.

During his 50-year career, Johnson focused on research and consulting in the design, theatre planning, and acoustics of buildings for the performing arts.

In 1970, Mr. Johnson founded Russell Johnson Associates, a group devoted solely to the design, theatre planning, and acoustics of buildings for the performing arts. Renamed Artec Consultants Inc. several years later, the firm designed concert halls, opera houses, theatres and other performance spaces throughout the world. Among the best-known are: Symphony Hall, Birmingham, U.K.; New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, New Jersey; Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts, Calgary, Alberta; Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York, New York; the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida. One of the firm’s most recent design projects was the work done for the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, which opened in Costa Mesa, Calif., in 2006.

Johnson's awards and honors include the prestigious USITT Award (for life-long commitment to excellence in architectural acoustics and theatre planning for performing arts spaces), 1996; the Wallace Clement Sabine Medal from the Acoustical Society of America in recognition of his lifetime contribution to advancing the knowledge of architectural acoustics, 1997; and the International Citation of Merit from the International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), 1998.

Johnson is survived by his sister, Barbara Johnson Mansfield, of Vienna, Va., his two nephews and a niece.

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