Ground has just recently been broken on the DePaul University Art Museum’s new building, scheduled to open its doors mid-September 2011.
The almost residential appearance of the building’s façade echoes the style and palette of much of the surrounding neighborhood, with special attention paid to details like the historic red brick building material of the kind found in Lincoln Park and the arched entryway that evokes the character neighborhood townhomes.
The utilitarian, anti-starchitect approach to the building’s exterior belies the complexity of plans for the interior, which, despite occupying a similar amount of square feet as the museum’s present space, will be rendered much more visible thanks to its Fullerton Avenue orientation and street level glass entry way, an architect's rendition of the building is seen below.
Innovative touches, such as a 6’ x 10’ protruding glass-walled ledge, level with the bustling Fullerton elevated train, will provide an exceptional opportunity to showcase digital media that interacts with, and reacts to, the community’s commuters.
The three-story building will also contain sorely needed space on the first floor dedicated to exhibiting works from DePaul’s permanent collection, a second floor space to host lectures, film screenings and opening receptions, and a third floor study room that will house all the museum’s prints, photographs and works on paper.
The museum will be shuttered for a brief period in the summer of 2011 as they juggle the logistics of packing up and moving out of one space, and installing and opening up the new one, with the old galleries being re-absorbed by DePaul’s library.
With knockout plans for their inaugural exhibition, which will enlist a forty-strong cadre of curators, critics, scholars and artists selecting work that represents over a century of Chicago’s art production, look forward to a well-outfitted new museum that will remain free and open to the public. Also expect, according to Director Louise Lincoln, a renewed commitment to collecting and showcasing the art of Chicago and the work of our time, which will further distinguish DePaul amongst the city’s university art museum landscape.
-Thea Liberty Nichols
(All images courtesy of the DePaul University Art Museum)