Writers Theatre raises $22 million to build Studio Gang–designed complex in Chicago

Midwest
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Studio Gang Architects' design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Studio Gang Architects’ design for Writers Theatre, an intimate theater space on the North Shore of suburban Chicago. (Studio Gang Architects)

Roughly one year after it announced a fundraising campaign to reinvent its home with a Studio Gang–designed “cultural destination,” Writers Theatre in suburban Glencoe said Wednesday it had raised $22 million of the $28 million needed to build the structure on Chicago’s north shore.

gang_theater_03

Studio Gang’s design employs a lot of wood—a nod to the half-timber wood construction of proto-Tudor style architecture in the U.K., where modern theater began. The airy lobby and 2nd-floor “grand gallery walk,” which circumscribes the lobby and provides access to the building’s main 250-seat theater, also acknowledge leafy Glencoe’s abundance of trees. A rooftop terrace and green roof tie into Friends Park across the street, while large windows serve as beacons to passersby.

“We tried to open this theater up and make it part of the community,” Jeanne Gang said. The new building still needs $6 million in funding, but Writers Theatre staff were ebullient in their praise for donors who gave as much as $5 million to help realize the structure.

“It maintains our commitment to intimate theater, while doubling our capacity,” said Michael Halberstam, Writers Theatre’s artistic director. “It will match the quality of our art and will allow us to make an even more significant investment in our artists.”

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