Columbia College Chicago Theater Arts Building Renovation

  • area / size 30,470 sqft
  • Completed 2018
  • Gensler was tasked with the design for the renovation of Columbia College Chicago’s Theater Arts Building located in Chicago, Illinois.

    Gensler renovated the Columbia College Theatre Arts Building in the South Loop. The historic art deco building is receiving a major upgrade to its pedagogical and performance capacities with a new production shop, extensive backstage improvements and two new performance spaces, including a courtyard-style theater (a Chicago rarity), all with an emphasis on student experience. The original building was designed as the home for the Women’s Club of Chicago by Holabird and Root, completed in 1929.

    Including structural demolition of the old balcony and a portion of the second floor slab, the new theater department at Columbia College is beginning to stage the first productions in their newly renovated performance spaces. The Courtyard Theater (one of the only Courtyard style stages in the city) is a remarkably hard-working production and teaching space, with an intimate audience experience. The renovations also bring previously dislocated functions together under one roof including: a new scene shop, lighting lab, costume shop, makeup classroom, dressing rooms, and high performance AV capacity linking all four performance spaces in the building.

    PhotographyTom Rossiter