The University of Illinois at Chicago announced three finalist architecture teams who will compete to design the school's new Center for the Arts, a project idea first envisioned by UIC's original architects Walter Netsch and his team at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill during the 1960s. Netsch envisioned the arts center as a later phase of the new UIC campus and wanted it to be “an equivalent of [New York City's] Lincoln Center to Chicago”.
The finalists were selected from an international competition pool of 36 teams who responded to a public RFQ. They are:
- JohnstonMarklee/UrbanWorks – based in Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively
- Morphosis/STL – based in Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively
- OMA/Koo Architecture – based in New York and Chicago, respectively
The finalist teams will move on to produce their design concept and visuals. The winning proposal must represent the innovative work of the schools in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) as well as contribute to UIC’s mission to be a leader in both research and educating a diverse student body.
Proposed for the east side of campus at Halsted and Harrison streets, the arts center will serve as a new destination for arts and culture production. So far, details of the building's program include an 88,000-gross-square-foot building with a 500-seat concert hall and a 270-seat flexible main stage theater, as well as instrumental and choral rehearsal halls and theater production shops. Additionally, the building will have supporting facilities, a donor lounge, a small cafe/jazz club, and exhibition space. UIC and CADA officials are currently in the process of raising the projected $94.5 million construction budget through private and public funds.
The teams will publicly present their designs in early April, and the public can provide feedback shortly after. The winning proposal is expected to be announced by the end of April.
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