OMA & KOO @ UIC

John Hill
17. May 2019
Image: OMA/KOO

The competition-winning design by OMA – Office for Metropolitan Architecture and KOO LLC for the University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for the Arts consists of two towers and some performance spaces beneath a tent-like roof.

The OMA/KOO team beat two other finalists in the limited invited design competition: Johnston Marklee/UrbanWorks and Morphosis/STL. According to Walter Benn Michaels, interim dean of UIC's College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA), "OMA/KOO’s [proposal] 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." Furthermore, it "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."

Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York said the design was inspired by SOM designer Walter Netsch's design of the UIC campus west of the Chicago Loop. He reinterpreted Netsch's principles to conceive “a unique flexibility” for the concert hall. Jackie Koo, principal of KOO LLC, said they wanted their design to "transparently showcase the pedagogy of CADA and how UIC is a school that succeeds at educating future creative leaders while being accessible to all."

Take a look at the winning design below or click here to see a PDF of the OMA/KOO presentation.

Aerial view looking north: The site, currently an empty field, is on the northwest corner of Halsted and Harrison Streets on the north edge of campus, near the interchange recently named the Jane Byrne Interchange. (Image: OMA/KOO)
The parti of two slab-like towers alternating with theaters looks bridge-like when depicted as a diagram seen from the south. (Image: OMA/KOO)
The "highly flexible phasing strategy" mentioned by Michaels would entail the construction of the towers and the Concert Hall between them for phase 1, with the Theatre added in phase 2 and the Black Box Theatre and Recital Hall in phase 3. (Image: OMA/KOO)
The large spaces between and next to the towers would be covered by a semi-translucent roof structure integrated with flexible photovoltaics for energy production and shading. (Image: OMA/KOO)
Rendering of the south elevation (Image: OMA/KOO)
Rendering of the Concert Hall (Image: OMA/KOO)
Rendering of Theatre (Image: OMA/KOO)
Illuminated model showing the project built out to phase 2 (Image: OMA/KOO)

Related articles

Featured Project

Kengo Kuma & Associates

V&A Dundee

Other articles in this category