Flexible indoor and outdoor performance spaces will expand the student experience at the Jesuit college preparatory school.
A striking new performing arts centre has broken ground on the campus of Loyola Academy, a private Jesuit college preparatory school in Wilmette, Ill.
Designed by Chicago-based Krueck Sexton Partners (KSP), the $25.76 million Loyola Academy Center for the Performing Arts will transform the northeast corner of the school’s campus with flexible indoor and outdoor performance spaces that support a vibrant arts program for all students.
The 29,000-square-foot building is strategically positioned to form a new campus quadrangle and an outdoor plaza that will function as an open-air performance stage and, a social and gathering space for the entire Loyola community, which celebrates the arts as a central part of their individual and collective well-being. A 125-linear-foot undulating curved glass wall will blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor spaces.
“In our conversations with Loyola leadership, it became clear that we are working with a client who is seeking transformational change, the DNA of the Jesuit experience,” said Tom Jacobs, AIA, LEED AP, co-managing partner at Krueck Sexton Partners. “It was critical for Loyola to strengthen the fine arts on campus, and to elevate it to equal standing with academics and sports The theatre acts as a connector that extends cross-campus circulation, and the new quad will function as a campus ‘town square.’”
Inside, a spacious lobby and gallery space will lead to the Leemputte Family Theater, a 565-seat proscenium theatre with a balcony, orchestra pit, fly tower, and state-of-the-art lighting and production technologies. Adjacent to the theatre is an offstage rehearsal and staging area; a fully equipped scene shop; a green room; makeup and dressing rooms; and a flexible student lounge connecting the centre to the fine arts wing on the east side of Loyola’s Wilmette campus.
Students in Loyola’s American Institute of Architecture (AIA) student chapter played an active role in the planning and design process to ensure the performing arts centre will benefit the entire campus community. Parents, donors, and other community stakeholders have also been engaged throughout project development.
The Jesuit commitment of “Caring for Our Common Home”—the 2015 encyclical by Pope Francis that calls on all people of the world to take swift and unified global action considering environmental degradation and global warming—guided the project’s sustainability goals, which also align with KSP’s commitment as a signatory firm in the AIA 2030 Commitment to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
“True leadership in education considers the well-being of all far into the future. As a high-performing building that uses 58 per cent less energy when compared against the local average of peer institutions, the theatre is a testament to the ‘be more’ ethos that pervades Loyola Academy. It is a building that future Ramblers will look to and recognize that they are part of a group of people who literally practice what they preach,” said Sara Lundgren, AIA, LEED AP, project director and partner at Krueck Sexton Partners.
The all-electric building will further reduce carbon emissions as the Chicagoland grid continues its transition to all-renewable fuel sources by 2035. High-efficiency building systems will be installed in anticipation of a future rooftop-mounted photovoltaic array that accommodates the building’s entire energy load.
The building is predominantly precast concrete, a strategic material that performs as enclosure and structure while also providing mass for acoustic performance, a requirement given the project’s direct adjacency to the Edens Expressway. The use of fly ash in both the precast and cast-in-place concrete will reduce the carbon footprint of the concrete by 30 per cent. An additional 10 per cent reduction in embodied carbon will be achieved by using the CO2 mineralization process in the cast-in-place concrete. The total carbon impact of these materials is equivalent to converting the 20-acre Loyola Academy Wilmette campus into an old-growth oak forest for 30 years.
“Since the first Jesuit school opened nearly five centuries ago, we have understood that the arts play an important role in the enrichment of the human spirit and the development of creative thinkers with the potential to transform society in positive ways,” said the president of Loyola Academy, Rev. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ. “Our new performing arts centre represents a long-anticipated expansion of resources and facilities that will benefit all Loyola students and expand access to a broader network of our community partners, neighbours, and friends.”
Construction of the Loyola Academy Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Leemputte Family Theater is expected to be completed in 2022.
Valenti Builders is the general contractor. Other key project consultants include Coen Partners (landscape architect), Thornton Tomasetti (structural engineer), ESD (mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineer), A10 (sustainability consultant), Schuler Shook (theatre designer and lighting design), Threshold (acoustics), Terra Engineering (civil engineer), Edward Peck (glazing), and Raths, Raths & Johnson (waterproofing).
About Krueck Sexton Partners
Krueck Sexton Partners (KSP) is a Chicago-based architectural design practice with a 40-year legacy of creating environments that elevate the human experience. Grounded in the pragmatism and clarity of Chicago’s architectural heritage, KSP brings together a natural curiosity with insights from the firm’s diverse body of work. The KSP team is committed to realizing each project’s hidden potential and creating opportunities to increase its impact and value. For more information, visit http://www.ks.partners and follow the firm on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Vimeo.
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