DePaul University is taking a break from brick.

Image Courtesy of DePaul University
DePaul University is constructing a new glass-enclosed theater building.

In a departure from the climbing vines that define its Lincoln Park setting, the Chicago-based university has broken ground on a $69-million Theatre School Building whose translucent facade seeks to open a window to the world of the performing arts.

The architect is New York City-based Pelli Clarke Pelli rather than longtime DePaul collaborator Antunovich Associates, a local firm whose masonry-oriented architecture complemented both the campus and its surrounding neighborhood.

The Pelli concept, which locates a window wall on the building's north facade, will provide passersby with views of “scene-building, painting and other workshops,” says Theatre School Dean John Culbert.

Theatergoers will see even more thanks to Pelli's “sophisticated approach to organizing the building,” says Culbert. “You won't just step off the street into the theater. You'll actually journey through the school, see its inner workings and be immersed in an experience not available anywhere else in Chicago.”

Pelli Clarke Pelli senior principal Cesar Pelli, who attended the June groundbreaking, says “DePaul is known for reaching out to the community. Our design supports this objective.”

The theater will open in 2013.