Chicago's Harris Theater just got the official go-ahead for a $5 million renovation, part of the Imagine: The Campaign for Harris Theater fundraising effort announced in the fall of 2013. Initially approved on January 28, the permit outlines the expansion of the lobby and the installation of two high-speed elevators. One of the key aims of the campaign and renovation project is to improve accessibility and speed up access to the theater, since the current layout requires patrons to descend from the Randolph Street entrance into the auditorium.
Built in 2003 as Millennium Park's indoor performing arts venue, the 1,525-seat theater is mostly underground due to the restrictions that come with constructing a building in Grant Park (for instance, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion was deemed a work of art to get around those restrictions). Joan and Irving Harris donated $15M for the structure, which was designed by Chicago Seven architect Thomas Beeby of Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects, who also designed the Harold Washington Library. His colleague at HBRA, Gary Ainge, is listed as the lead architect for the renovation.
·Permit [Chicago Cityscape]
·Harris Theater plans renovation [Tribune]