Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and London theater consultants CharcoalBlue have designed The Yard, an addition to Navy Pier's Shakespeare Theater. Now under construction, the new building will be a next-generation performance venue that will reflect Chicago Shakespeare’s multi-faceted artistic vision.
The project will introduce a new flexible theater and lobby connected to the existing Shakespeare Theater. Consisting of approximately 35,000 sf of space, the project will introduce Chicago to a global trend in theater architecture that focuses on resourceful, sustainable, and adaptive design. The new project is comprised of the adaptive reuse of the existing Skyline Stage along with a new structure connecting The Yard to the existing Shakespeare lobby.
Located adjacent to the existing theater, The Yard is artfully tucked beneath the existing signature tent structure above an existing parking garage. The new theater is fully enclosed beneath the white tent, using the existing stage house and backstage support spaces. The Yard will be connected to the existing facility, by a glazed two story lobby and reception space that will have magnificent views of Lake Michigan.
In order to mitigate glare and heat, the design has integrated an electrochromic façade. Designed with daylight sensors on the roof, the façade will gradually tint as sunlight passes across its southern face. This technologically unique solution is highly sustainable as it will reduce heat gain and cooling needs for the project. The “theatrical” nature of the façade is akin to the raising of the curtain, as it will be primarily tinted throughout the day becoming clearer in the evenings as the sun sets and the performances begin. Override capabilities are included for the client so that at any time, the facade can be as clear or as opaque as desired.