Wintrust Arena at McCormick Square

Chicago, IL
Construction Cost: 155,000,000
Area / Square Feet: 285,000
Occupancy Date: September 2017

Wintrust Arena is located on the Near South Side of Chicago. It is the home of DePaul University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and a multipurpose event space that hosts concerts and convention-related events for McCormick Place, the country’s largest convention center. The arena is part of a redevelopment plan to transform the surrounding neighborhood into a vibrant entertainment district with new dining and entertainment venues, hotels and streetscapes.

The event center’s main design feature is an inventive roof that swells upward over the arena seating. Within the arena, the roof’s structure is exposed, making the steel trusses that hold it aloft an expressive part of the design. The design team endeavored to create an arena that contributes positively to the streets that surround it, sharing the activity inside and investing the design with features that are active all the time — not just during the events. An opening in the arena seating offers passersby a glimpse of the world-class scoreboard, as well as of the events inside.

The two levels of suites and individually articulated seating sections create an intimate venue. The Blue Demon Deck student section cantilevers dramatically from the top of the arena and places the students directly over the action. Open concourses keep the spectators connected to the event as they circulate throughout the building. Athletic support facilities, backstage areas, loading docks and mechanical spaces are all strategically placed in an arena that contributes greatly to the surrounding neighborhood.

Wintrust Arena

Judge's Comments

“Exciting overall forms and extending the outside and daylight through the bowl are the best features of this project.” — Mark Williams

“The curving clerestory windows transform the rectangular form into an energetic volume.” — Brent Tippets

“Beautifully simple exterior forms. Impactful roof structure provides a unique feature to set it apart.” — Nathan Harris