USA National and Student Exhibit – BUILD, pt. 1, staircase.

Klara’s cloud of curly q’s and spiralled conduit couldn’t start to take shape until we had a spiral staircase constructed. The staircase is at the center of the National exhibit and we knew it would help determine the overall shape of the cloud. Brad and his team started construction on the custom-built spiral staircase that would soon take over the metal area of the Indiana University’s Scenic Studio.

Bending box steel was as fun as it sounds….Carrie and Katie spent hours on this machine that manually bends the box steel.


Heaps of sawdust covered the floor as the step bases were cut out of MDF. The first step up the staircase was successful!


With a week or two under our belts, the staircase was finally finished! A lot further to go, but it felt great to complete this step.

Katie Gruenhagen

Katie Gruenhagen is a lighting designer and photographer living in Denver, Colorado. She recently received her M.F.A. in Lighting Design from Indiana University. Katie is the photographer and blogger covering the USITT Student Build Team for the U.S.A. National and Student Exhibits at the Prague Quadrennial 2015. As a part of the Indiana University Student Build Team, she has also served as a carpenter and electrician for the National Exhibit. At Indiana University, she was the lighting designer for nine main stage productions including Romeo and Juliet (award winning design at the 2014 Southeastern Theater Conference) and Into The Woods. To see her work and contact information, see