The University of Chicago has announced plans for a new arts and cultural center called the Arts Block. Leading the design is Los Angeles–based Johnston Marklee in collaboration with community partners. The new center will be located in Washington Park along East Garfield Boulevard on the South Side of Chicago. The new Arts Block expands the university’s efforts to fill vacant buildings near campus with a mix of studios alongside performance and exhibition spaces. The Arts Block will join the
Currency Exchange Café, BING Art Books, the Arts Incubator, and the Place Lab at the Green Line Arts Center. The proposed design maintains the 1920s terra-cotta facade on the building that is currently on the site. Along with the redevelopment of the Arts Block, a vacant lot in the area will be transformed into an open-air pavilion.
Chicago artist Theaster Gates, professor at the college’s Department of Visual Arts and director of Arts + Public Life, has been spearheading the efforts to transform the 100,000-square-foot development along Garfield Boulevard.
Architect: Johnston Marklee
Client: University of Chicago
Location: Chicago, IL
Completion Date: 2017