The University of Illinois at Chicago Wants to Build a Building With a Roving Roof

Courtesy OMA/KOO

The chosen design features a rooftop that will move to the beat of a conductor’s baton.

If you haven’t heard of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center of the Arts, prepare for an education. The university recently asked designers to submit ideas for the new center and boy did they deliver. A winner proposal has been shared and we’ve got two words for you: translucent roof.

The $95 million build will be led by Dutch company OMA and Chicago-based KOO Architecture, according to Curbed. The finished project will span 88,000 square feet and feature two glass towers, which are meant to pair homage to the city’s bridges. The roof is the real draw; once finished it will resemble a tent and will move in time with the performing conductor’s baton. The flexibility for this design comes from the incorporation of photovoltaic cells embedded into the roof’s fabric, which allows the structure to produce electric currents when exposed to light.


Courtesy OMA/KOO

Related: The Art Ensemble of Chicago Continues to Break the Mold

Inside, the center will house a 500-seat concert hall, a theater with 270 seats, rehearsal spaces, a cafe inspired by jazz clubs, an exhibition hall, and workshop space. The building will certainly bring in more than students with its impressive design and forward-thinking approach to technology integration. “Our design focuses on fostering dialogue between performance and the public,” OMA’s Shohei Shigematsu shared in a statement about the new addition. “The new building will be a connector between the city and UIC’s urban campus.”


Courtesy OMA/KOO

All in all, there were 36 architecture firms that submitted designs for the new Center of the Arts. There’s no official word on when groundbreaking will happen for this new project, but the university is working on raising the funds. A moving rooftop is surely worth the wait.