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Groundbreaking for Pelli Clarke Pelli Architect’s new 10,000 seat arena in Chicago

Mayor Rahm Emanual joined CEO Lori Healey and Chairman Jack Greenberg of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, DePaul University President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, and Alderman Pat Dowell to break ground for the McCormick Place Event Center in Chicago. Senior Principal Fred Clarke, FAIA and Principal Mitch Hirsch, AIA participated in the event.

As a key component of the McCormick Place Entertainment District, Pelli Clarke Pelli’s new 300,000 square foot Event Center will host entertainment, large-scale conventions and trade shows, and be the new home for DePaul’s Blue Demons basketball games. It will be a world-class catalyst in the Mayor’s initiative to promote tourism and economic development.

“We are excited to break ground on this important project with DePaul University,” said CEO Lori Healey. “The Event Center will be a beautiful addition to Cermak Road with its contemporary architectural design.”

Located at the boundary of the city’s Prairie District, a pedestrian-scaled neighborhood and McCormick Place’s existing campus, PCPA’s design recalls grand gathering spaces of Chicago, exemplified by Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Theater and the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom.It occupies a full block with landscaped setbacks on the corner of Cermak and Indiana Streets and provides a spacious plaza for spectators to congregate before and after events. An arching roof with individual dramatic rising arcs establishes an instantly recognizable image in both the neighborhood and the city, especially when lit in the evening.

With lightweight glass walls, the fully transparent main entrance creates an architecture of experience: the energy and excitement of the arena is palpable outside on the street and inside the main concourse.