OMA wins competition to design new center for the arts in chicago
 

OMA wins competition to design new center for the arts in chicago

OMA has held off competition from two other high profile firms — morphosis and johnston marklee — to design a new arts center for the university of illinois at chicago (UIC). earlier this year, the institution initiated a contest that called for ‘an architecturally significant center for the arts that serves as a gateway and bridge between UIC and the world, and as a destination for innovative arts and cultural production.’


OMA new york + KOO (also main image)

 

 

as the only public research university in chicago, the university of illinois at chicago (UIC) provides a rare combination of research excellence and public access to higher education. UIC’s school of theatre & music (STM) will be the primary occupant of the proposed center. every year, the school presents four main stage theater productions and more than 50 concerts, all of which are open to the public. in developing their proposals, OMA, morphosis, and johnston marklee each partnered with a chicago-based architect — KOO, STL architects, and urbanworks architecture respectively.


OMA new york + KOO

 

 

as a public, urban hub for performance and gathering, and a home for the school of theatre and music, the project required an 88,000-square-foot building with a 500-seat vineyard-style concert hall and a 270-seat flexible mainstage theater, as well as instrumental and choral rehearsal halls and theater production shops. supporting facilities, a donor lounge, a small café/jazz club and exhibition space will also be included.


OMA new york + KOO

 

 

OMA/KOO’s winning concept design proposes two towers: a student tower that faces the campus and opens to a performance park along the peoria street bridge, and a public tower that looks to the cityscape and opens to a phase one screening plaza along halsted street. large ramps flow from the street to an ‘accessible topography of performances’ on the second level, connecting the outdoor and indoor performances spaces, including the concert hall between the towers, and the phase two mainstage theatre on halsted street. production spaces line harrison street on the ground floor.


OMA new york + KOO

 

 

the scheme is topped with a translucent, tent-like roof with embedded photovoltaics that stretches from and between the towers, covering the concert hall and the mainstage theatre. the colors of the performance space volumes would shine through the translucent areas. ‘we are honored to be awarded this project that will serve as a new cultural anchor for the students of UIC and the city of chicago,’ says OMA partner shohei shigematsu. ‘our design focuses on fostering dialogue between performance and the public — the new building will be a connector between the city and UIC’s urban campus.’


OMA new york + KOO

 

 

‘we were fortunate to have three spectacular proposals, but OMA/KOO’s is exemplary in the way it provides physical and visual access to each stage of the dynamic process of creative production, reinforcing UIC’s mission to share knowledge with the broader world,’ comments walter benn michaels, interim dean of the college of architecture, design, and the arts (CADA). ‘this design both creates a central space for thinking and making and provides a vivid image of the innovative work of the schools of the college. practically speaking, it also provides a highly flexible phasing strategy’.

 

university and CADA officials are currently in the process of raising the anticipated $94.5 million USD construction budget through private and public funds. see more on each of the other two proposals below.


morphosis architects + STL architects — read more about the proposal here


morphosis architects + STL architects


morphosis architects + STL architects


morphosis architects + STL architects


johnston marklee + urbanworks architecture — read more about the proposal here


johnston marklee + urbanworks architecture


johnston marklee + urbanworks architecture


johnston marklee + urbanworks architecture

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