The two symmetrical neo-gothic towers that frame the new Gordon Parks Arts Hall at the University of Chicago marry limestone, metal and glass in one of the most innovative material treatments we've ever seen. Valerio Dewalt Train Associates designed the new facility in the spirit of classicism adapted to modern educational requirements and inserted a circular volume that solves the complexity of the site.
The building on University of Chicago Laboratory School’s main campus reinterprets the 1904 limestone facade of the neighboring Belfield Hall and establishes a visual dialogue between the old and new. The predominantly orthogonal mass features a cylindrical volume that houses the auditorium and establishes a connection between the Sherry Lansing Theater to the east, the interior garden to the south and the main entrance to the northwest.
Dedicated to providing a hands-on learning environment, the Gordon Parks Arts Hall features a variety of spaces, including art and music labs on the upper floors and a formal art gallery, two large rehearsal rooms and the Studio Theater – also used for cinema screenings – on the ground floor. Adjacent are two large performance spaces; the 750-seat assembly and music hall, and the Sherry Lansing 250-seat black-box theater, which also can be used as a sound stage. Every space in the Arts Hall has been designed to create and present content.