Later this month the North Shore village of Glencoe will celebrate the opening of the new Writers Theatre penned by Chicago architectural rockstar Jeanne Gang. When completed, the facility will include two new performance spaces in the form of a 250-seat mainstage and a smaller "black box" venue that can be configured to accommodate between 50 and 99 patrons. There's nothing black box about the Studio Gang-designed exterior which is anything but dark and enclosed. An airy and transparent multi-purpose lobby space welcomes guests to the theatre. Above, a raised loggia enclosed by a wooden latticework and supported by a Vierendeel-style truss system provides the new Writers with its most striking visual design element. Continuing the theme of bright, inviting spaces, much of the lobby and rehearsal areas will open up to the neighboring parkland during warm weather. Gang is collaborating with a team from Auerbach Pollock Friedlander who are consulting on stage design, lighting, acoustics, and other theater-specific aspects of the project.
Writers Theatre formerly occupied the Woman's Library Club of Glencoe building since 2003 and has been using a temporary Glencoe location at nearby Books on Vernon ever since construction began in October of 2014. The Woman's Library Club of Glencoe donated their decaying 1938 building to Writers who ultimately razed the structure to make way for the new building. Striving for LEED gold certification, the theatre managed to recycle much of the demolished building into the new design, and the club will have continued access to the new space free of charge. Financed entirely through private contributions, a funding campaign raised a total of $34 million for the project since 2013. Though construction faced a setback in April of 2015 when an on-site fire led to one employee being treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation, progress has remained on track. Nationally respected among regional theatres, Writers hopes the new 36,000-square-foot building will broaden the institution's exposure and attract new patrons beyond those already familiar with the theatre's sterling reputation. Located just 500 feet from Glencoe's Metra stop, future productions will also target downtown patrons in addition to the theatre's traditionally suburban base of subscribers.
·Writer's Theatre [website]
·New Studio Gang Designed Writers Theater Breaks Ground [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Writers Theatre coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Studio Gang coverage [Curbed Chicago]