The Wintrust Arena is located on the Near South Side of Chicago. It is the home of DePaul University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and also a multi-purpose event space that hosts concerts and convention-related events for McCormick Place, the country’s largest convention center. The arena is part of a redevelopment plan to transform the surrounding neighborhood into a vibrant entertainment district with new dining and entertainment venues, hotels, and streetscapes. The event center’s main design feature is an inventive roof that swells upward over the arena seating, recalling some of Chicago’s great gathering spaces like Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom, and Union Station. The arching roof is stepped, creating an evocative series of eyebrows. At night, when they glow with light, the shapes produce a distinctive pattern that is visible from the Loop, Chicago’s central business district. Within the arena, the roof’s structure is exposed, making the steel trusses that hold it aloft an expressive part of the design. As a result, the Wintrust Arena is part of the Chicago tradition of lyrical structures—engineering raised to the level of art.
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