The Gordon Parks Arts Hall restores the two historic gable-roofed buildings of Belfield Hall at the University of Chicago while connecting and complementing them with a daring Gothic–modernist hybrid sheathed in glass and Indiana limestone. The peaked glass roof of the new 8,400-square-metre wing of the Laboratory School spans four solar chimneys that loosely evoke steeples or bell towers. The central feature of the interior layout, which includes classrooms, a black-box performance space and a gallery, is a 750-seat assembly hall modelled on Palladio’s Villa Rotonda — a circular space housed, deceptively, within an orthogonal building. With a few neoclassical elements thrown playfully into the mix, the mash-up of shapes and epochs may be atypical, but it perfectly suits the project — a space of synergy, diversity and collaboration.
Project UC Laboratory Schools: Historic Campus & Gordon Parks Arts Hall Location Chicago, U.S. Firms Valerio Dewalt Train (U.S.) with FGM Architects (U.S.) Team Joe Valerio, Randy Mattheis, Steve Droll and Joe Chronister with Sheri Andrews, Robert Webber, Matthew Gamache, Stephen Killion and Terry Owens Photo Steve Hall