Architecture | Educational and Cultural Institutions | Writers Theatre |

Writers Theatre - Exterior & Atrium

Writers Theatre | Glencoe, IL | 2016

Renowned theatre company Writers Theatre opened a new performance space worthy of its critically acclaimed productions.

What It Was

Renowned theatre company Writers Theatre opened a new performance space worthy of its critically acclaimed productions. Designed by Studio Gang Architects, the new LEED-Gold, 36,000-square-foot structure in downtown Glencoe, IL, was praised by Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin as a building that “doesn't just contain performance spaces; it celebrates and enhances them, becoming a memorable part of the drama.”

What We Did

Lightswitch Architectural designed the architectural lighting and controls for the entire complex, including the exterior and Litowitz Atrium. The project involved extensive collaboration with SGA to ensure that the lighting supported the architecture and enhanced the environment for Glencoe residents and the audience. From the outside, the building acts as a welcoming, luminous beacon for the local community and theatergoers. We illuminated both the interior and exterior to achieve this effect, working with the city to modify the existing street lighting scheme and integrating soft exterior illumination into the hardscape. Inside, we used theatrical lighting fixtures—a playful nod to the stage—to highlight the signature wood batten architecture of the atrium and gallery walk, which are silhouetted through the exterior glass curtain wall. To meet both the aesthetic and technical demands of the project, we used LED lighting to provide all architectural illumination (with the exception of secondary systems in specialty areas). Three independent DMX-based control systems allowed us to achieve individual control of every architectural space.

Why It Worked

A lighting design practice that specializes in architecture and theater, we were able to create a design that balanced form and function to meet both the architect’s vision for the building and elevate the audience experience, resulting in a space that is as comfortable as it is inspiring. Photos by George Lambros