With the recent groundbreaking ceremony for Jeanne Gang’s stunning new residential building, Vista Tower, in the Lakeshore East neighborhood last week, we wanted to take the time to highlight another of Jeanne Gang’s recent projects that shows her design genius on a different scale.
The new Writers Theater building was developed with the Woman’s Library Club and the Village of Glencoe, and features several different types of performance spaces, a library, concessions and an elevated walkway. All of these spaces are clustered together separated by walkways that all center around the heart of the complex, a 250-seat theater, almost like a village square. We found this organization of program to be particularly inspiring because it is reminiscent of the surrounding downtown of Glencoe, and the hope of this project was that it would re-energize the community and become a cultural destination for all.
The Writers Theater Group has always prided itself on maximizing the sense of intimacy between the audience and the actors, which has garnered them much acclaim and a very loyal following. The main theater as well as the smaller black-box theater that can be configured in an almost infinite number of ways to constantly offer new approaches to the theater arts.
The other focal point of this project is the elevated gallery walk which is wrapped in glass and supported by wood trusses and a wood lattice pattern. It provides stunning views to the surrounding area including the lake and the rest of the downtown. The light quality and pattern generated by the wood structure is stunning, and provides a relaxing space for a walk to jumpstart those creative juices or just to take a break. At night it glows with light, accentuating its role as a hub and cultural icon for the city, becoming the literal manifestation of the metaphorical beacon for the community that it already is.