The University of Chicago's $91-million, 175,000-sq-ft Reva and David Logan Center consolidates visual arts, film, music and theater within a single complex housing a three-story, 450-seat auditorium, a two-story podium and an 11-story tower.

Consolidation created challenges, including acoustical isolation of spaces given the potential for concurrent performances within the complex. As construction progressed, the project's acoustical engineer performed periodic inspections of all wall and ceiling enclosures, with discrepancies documented and corrected before closure of spaces.

The project team relied extensively on mock-ups to ensure interior exposed aggregate and sandblasted concrete conformed to specs for flooring and tower stairwells.

Exterior enclosures include limestone "brick" and, atop the podium, sawtooth skylights that bathe studios, a gallery and music practice rooms in natural light. According to the architect, the contrast between the low-standing studios and theaters and the more prominent tower structure mirrors the disparity between the flat prairies of the Midwest and the great skyscrapers of Chicago.

To bring the concept to fruition, team members made extensive use of building information modeling during preconstruction, with the mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades joining the project early as design-assist contractors. As a result, contractor and subcontractors determined that the facility's main mechanical room contained insufficient space to accommodate all required equipment, allowing designers time to correct the floor elevation before construction.

The cinema, dance, performance and ensemble music spaces and classrooms are housed on different floors connected by dramatic stairways. As students, faculty and visitors move between floors, they discover places to gather and quieter spaces to spend time alone.

University of Chicago Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago

Key Players

Owner University of Chicago

GC Turner Construction Co., Chicago

Designer Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, New York