The Alice, Chicago Theatre Education Building, Illinois Interior Architecture Photos

The Alice Center for Education and Engagement in IL

Jun 6, 2020

The Alice at The Goodman Theatre

Design: Wheeler Kearns Architects

Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Alice Center Education Engagement Chicago

At The Alice, the Goodman Theatre’s new Center for Education and Engagement, wood materials are used to transform 10,000 sq. ft. of office space into a welcoming and inspiring learning environment for students of all ages.

The Alice Center Education Engagement Chicago

The project connects two adjacent buildings – Goodman Theatre and Goodman Center – even while maintaining a four-hour fire separation and navigating a level change between structures. The ambitious program consists of two STEM learning labs, an auditioning studio, reception and lobby space, support spaces, and a centralized video control space for the entire facility.

The Alice Center Education Engagement Chicago

The rich material palette honors the named donor, Alice, who was an avid trail runner and nature enthusiast, as well as recalling Goodman Theatre’s founding donor, William Owen Goodman, an American lumber industrialist. Students and visitors first encounter these earthy tones when entering through a portal where red oak stair treads, blackened steel plates, and a millwork-clad wheelchair lift bridge the five-foot difference in floor elevation between the existing theatre lobby and the new space.

The Alice Center Education Engagement Chicago

Once users have passed this threshold, white oak end-grain flooring unfolds underfoot as a durable surface and direct reminder of cut logs—a connection between theater, industry, and running through the forest as Alice once did.

The Alice Center Education Engagement Chicago

A two-sided wood feature wall, composed of clean striped rift-cut red oak and backed with grey acoustical fabric, dissipates and absorbs sound within STEM learning labs and reception spaces. Vertical wood slats, varying in width and depth, are assembled to allude to a Venetian contour curtain that is being folded to reveal a performance stage.

This acoustical “wood curtain” meanders through the Center to define the threshold between public and learning spaces, breaking or “parting” to define entry points into the various classrooms. Wood is integrated within classrooms for its acoustical properties and serves as a means of introducing students to different materials as a creative framework for theatrical performance.

Illinois building design by Wheeler Kearns Architects Illinois interior architecture design by Wheeler Kearns Architects

The facility is acoustically isolated from the building structure with resilient pads and acoustical hangers that reduce noise transmission with tenant spaces above and below. Ceiling planes throughout are a mix of absorptive and reflective; an organic arrangement of lighting and mechanical diffusers reinforce the concept of being outdoors under a starry sky.

Concrete columns, left exposed, pierce through ceilings and, with lighting designed to highlight a space beyond, accentuate the height of the room.

The Alice Center Education Engagement Chicago

Using wood afforded unique opportunities: the wood panels have theatrical references, acoustical value and are linked historically to two major institutional donors. Most importantly, through design and materiality, The Alice has become the visible manifestation of The Goodman’s free arts-as-education mission and its increasing impact on Chicago and beyond.

The Alice Center Education Engagement Chicago

Interior Design + Architecture: Wheeler Kearns Architects

Photographs © Steve Hall + Nick Merrick Photography

The Alice Center for Education and Engagement in Chicago images / information received 060620

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Chicago Architecture

Chicago Architecture Designs – chronological list

Chicago Architectural Walking Tours by e-architect

Chicago Architecture News

Willis Tower Renovations
233 S. Wacker Drive – Willis Tower Building

110 North Wacker Office Building
Design: Goettsch Partners
110 North Wacker Office Building Chicago
rendering from architects

110 North Wacker Building in Chicago

747 North Clark
Design: Ranquist Development Group
747 North Clark Chicago Building
photograph : Marty Peters

747 North Clark

Zurich North America Headquarters in Schaumburg
Zurich North America Headquarters Building by Goettsch Partner
photo © Steinkamp Photography
Zurich North America Headquarters Building by Goettsch Partners

Obama Presidential Center Building
Obama Presidential Center Building

Chicago Architecture

Major Chicago Buildings

Aqua Tower Chicago

Lake Shore Drive Towers

Sears Tower Building

Website: Chicago

Comments / photos for the The Alice Center for Education and Engagement in Chicago – page welcome