Civic Opera House Renovation

Project Facts
  • Completion Year 1996
  • Design Finish Year 1992
  • Size Building Gross Area: 345,000
  • Awards
    1997, Distinguished Building Award, AIA – Chicago Chapter 1998, National Honor Award for Interior Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Collaborators
    Kirkegaard Associates Morse Diesel, Inc. Schuler Shook, Inc. Edgett Wiliams Consulting Group Inc. (EWCG)
Project Facts
  • Completion Year 1996
  • Design Finish Year 1992
  • Size Building Gross Area: 345,000
  • Awards
    1997, Distinguished Building Award, AIA – Chicago Chapter 1998, National Honor Award for Interior Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • Collaborators
    Kirkegaard Associates Morse Diesel, Inc. Schuler Shook, Inc. Edgett Wiliams Consulting Group Inc. (EWCG)

Built in 1929, the Civic Opera House, home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, had remained essentially unchanged from its original design. However, the rigorous demands of increasingly sophisticated productions had rendered many features obsolete. SOM’s renovation preserved the theater’s original Art Deco grandeur while adding major structural improvements.

To accommodate modern programming requirements, SOM gutted an adjacent theater and converted it into a rehearsal space and scenery-handling area with a 35-foot door that opens directly onto the Lyric’s stage. SOM restored the opera house’s opulent Art Deco lobby and 3,563-seat auditorium, adding an acoustically sophisticated, state-of-the-art air-handling system. The renovation also included an update of the theater’s street-facing facade, with new marquees, exterior lighting, and signage.

More Projects

01/