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Open> Theater
SPACE Architects + Planners bring new life to the old art deco Logan Theater in Chicago.
SPACE Architects + Planners, Jay Keller

The Logan Theater
2646 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Tel: 773.342.5555
Designers: SPACE Architects + Planners, Jay Keller

Chicago is flush with historic, downtrodden theaters—just take a stroll through Uptown. Almost every neighborhood has smaller, old-timey movie houses, including Logan Square, whose residents for years tolerated sticky floors, malodorous bathrooms, and spring-biting seats for cheap tickets. Once a large single screen, the Logan Theater was divided into four more economically viable screens. Owner and neighborhood developer Mark Fishman hired a team, including SPACE Architects + Planners, Stephanie Gabel of Roux Design, and H. Gary Frank Architects, to rechristen the Logan as a neighborhood showpiece.

As part of the redevelopment, the theater expanded its lobby into the vacant storefront to the north, relocating the concessions and adding a lounge and bar designed in keeping with the historic art deco detailing of the theater. The interiors were less about what was added and more about what was stripped away, revealing beautiful stained glass above the entrance and marble walls. Jay Keller, of SPACE, said that over the course of the project the developer’s love of the building deepened. “Mark’s vision evolved, and he ended up wanting to restore all the art deco splendor,” even if it meant the developer had to spend his kids’ college fund, Keller joked.

Ryan LaFollette