The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, on the south edge of University of Chicago’s Midway Plaisance, is a beacon for the arts. The 184,000 sf building draws students, faculty, artists and community together to celebrate the creative and performing arts, in a building that deliberately encourages serendipitous connections. The Logan Center provides a home for film, theatre, dance, music, visual arts, and more. Cinema and Media Studies students can screen a film next to artists working in their studios. Theatre students build costumes near musicians in practice rooms. Informal gathering spaces scattered throughout corridors and stairs encourage students and faculty across disciplines to interact and share ideas.
The competition-winning design by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects creates a bold statement, its eleven-story tower echoing the nearby Rockefeller Chapel, its two-story podium acting as an open medium to be filled with color, movement, and sound.
The podium contains three dedicated performance spaces. The 474-seat performance hall is the largest, designed primarily for music but adjustable to support dance, theater, lecture, and film. Theater East is a small end-stage theatre and is the primary performance space for the theatre program. Theatre West is a flexible black-box space with a seating gallery and full complement of technical infrastructure. The performance hall is notable for its clarity and presence and is particularly beloved for jazz. Wood-clad lower walls provide visual and acoustical warmth. Fabric upper walls provide a serene mask for the diffusive treatments, adjustable acoustic banners, and cinema surround sound loudspeakers behind. A series of movable recital screens form the lower upstage wall at the performance platform and can roll forward to create a more intimate setting for chamber music.
The building is fitted with state-of-the-art audio and video technologies for teaching, learning and exploring. The lower level accommodates an audio mix suite, two digital video finishing suites, and four multi-purpose suites, plus a 16mm editing suite with editing machines, rewind bench and accessories, all for individual or small group work. In addition, the digital media lab/classroom and video/film production lab allow for instruction and large group collaboration.
The podium’s saw-tooth roof covers painting and sculpting studios, a white-box exhibition gallery and a massive day-lit shop that is a collaborative space for theater and visual arts. In the tower, a 129-seat screening room capable of handling eight formats including 16mm, 25mm, digital, and 3D in surround sound, is located above a grade-level café, followed by alternating theatre studios and arts classrooms, deliberately layered as buffer zones. Music practice and ensemble rooms are mixed in on many floors. “Box-in-box” construction at the sound critical spaces provides high-level isolation so all spaces can be used simultaneously.
The performance penthouse and an outdoor deck crown the tower. The double-height penthouse offers breathtaking views of the campus and Lake Michigan. By day, it functions as a classroom and music rehearsal room. In the evening, it becomes a dynamic space for music performance, lectures, and special events.