OMA and KOO LLC has been announced as winners of an international competition to design an innovative Center for the Arts on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, serving as a gateway between UIC and the world. The scheme was one of three proposals chosen as finalists for the center, joining Johnston Marklee/UrbanWorks and Morphosis/STL.
The tent-like concept by OMA and Chicago’s KOO was made as glassy towers connected by a sloping fabric roof. A semi-translucent canopy would cover a six-sided concert hall, while an eastern theater wing with a rooftop terrace would offer downtown views. The theater has a rooftop terrace and mechanical facade that opens onto the existing Harrison Field. The doubly-curved roof was inspired by the swinging of a conductor’s baton.
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. 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. In collaboration with the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts and the School of Theatre and Music, we hope to create an openness and extreme accessibility by introducing a new platform for the diverse activities of UIC.
-Shohei Shigematsu, Partner, OMA New York
Initiated in 2017, the new Center for the Arts is part of UIC’s 10-year master plan and will be built on a vacant lot at the northwest corner of Halsted and Harrison streets.