Studio Gang complete illuminated Chicago theatre

by Kim Megson | 18 Feb 2016

Architecture and urbanism collective Studio Gang have completed a performing arts centre in Glencoe, Chicago, which is designed as a new cultural landmark for the city.

Built for the Writers Theatre group, which produces inventive interpretations of classic plays, the theatre features an elevated glass box lobby which glows in the dark at night to beckon people in.

The theatre is spread across a village-like cluster of distinct volumes around a central hub. The 36,000sq ft (3,345sq m) complex includes rehearsal rooms, a second-floor gallery and two performance spaces – a main stage and a smaller 99-seat black box venue – designed to be intimate and easily configurable.

The lobby is structured by timber Vierendeel trusses, integrating the building with the surrounding trees.

“The building engages its context through transparent visual connections and ivy-covered backdrops to the surrounding parks,” said Studio Gang in a statement. “In fair weather the lobby can open up to the adjacent Women’s Library Club Park, allowing the energy and interaction generated within to extend outward into the community beyond.”

Chicago-based Studio Gang worked with general contractor W.E O'Neil Construction, landscape architect Coen + Partners and sound consultant Threshold Acoustics. The budget for the project was US$28m (€25.1m, £19.5m).

The Writers Theatre group was founded in the back room of a bookstore in 1992. Since 2003, it has staged shows in the 108-capacity Woman’s Library Club of Glencoe, but commissioned the new building so that it can perform to a larger audience base.

The group believes nearly 45,000 additional people could be drawn to Chicago suburb Glencoe every year because of the new cultural facility.

Studio Gang  Chicago  theatre  Writers Theatre  Glencoe  architecture  design  performing arts 
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Architecture and urbanism collective Studio Gang have completed a performing arts centre in Glencoe, Chicago, which is designed as a new cultural landmark for the city. Built for the Writers Theatre group, which produces inventive interpretations of classic plays, the theatre features an elevated glass box lobby which glows in the dark at night to beckon people in. The theatre is spread across a village-like cluster of distinct volumes around
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Writers Theatre believes the building could draw 45,000 additional people to Glencoe every year / Steve Hall for Hedrich Blessing
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