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Project

Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion

A bold vision for an expanded campus that respects the company’s history and welcomes new generations of artists and audiences.

Lead Contact

Project Details

Project Partners
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture & Charcoalblue
Owner
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Location
Chicago, Illinois
Completion Date
Area
50,000 ft²
Number of Seats
400
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Courtesy Norcon Construction
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Thornton Tomasetti
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Thornton Tomasetti
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Thornton Tomasetti
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Courtesy Norcon Construction
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion in Chicago. Courtesy Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Overview

The Steppenwolf Theatre Expansion - part of Steppenwolf's Building on Excellence expansion campaign - features a 400-seat, in-the-round theater where no audience member will be more than 20 feet from the stage. The expansion also includes classrooms, rehearsal spaces, new lobby space with a bar and elevated outdoor terrace and back of house functions including a loading dock, stage assembly and costume shop. 

We provided structural design and structural renewal services to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture for the expansion, which opened in 2021.

Highlights

  • This program was required to fit on a tight site between the existing theater and a parking garage.
  • The selected structural scheme includes a basement level and four elevated levels of cast-in-place concrete construction surrounding the new theater, which will be framed in structural steel.
  • The structure of the theatre, which transitions from a concrete seating bowl to steel roof and rigging platform, is structurally and acoustically isolated to address acoustic concerns related to the adjacent elevated Brown Line tracks, as well as street noise from Halsted Street.