Opened in 1969, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (designed by Max Abramovitz, best known for his work on Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall and Lincoln Center) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is lauded as one of the United States’ premier university-based performing arts complexes.
Foellinger Great Hall, Tryon Festival Theatre, Colwell Playhouse, Studio Theater, the Lobby’s Stage 5 theater and an outdoor amphitheater comprise the core program for the complex. Age and the assessment of future needs for the School of Music influenced the need for a master plan.
Designed as an “academy” the plan enhances civic space while bringing to life a vision of an arts block where students, artists-in-residence, and legends can interact, engage, and collaborate. A central glazed pavilion improves the entry sequence and encloses the existing amphitheater; transforming it into a 1,000 seat theater. Additional spaces increase the Center’s functionality with faculty offices, a cafeteria, café, lounge, and gift shop that hug the edges of the site and activate the streetscape. The next phase of work includes fundraising and alignment with the capital improvement plan.