This 20,000 sf new museum enlarges on a predecessor 6,000 sf facility, sited amidst a complex of performing arts classrooms, theaters, and a library on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus, adjacent to the shores of Lake Michigan. Because the space between buildings was so tight, the main exhibition areas were elevated above a plaza while support spaces on two levels occupy the footprint of the previous building. In addition to the galleries, there is an auditorium and administrative offices.

A transparent entrance pavilion houses a glass elevator and a monumental stair that provides views of Lake Michigan. The north and south walls of the galleries are enclosed with a taut glass and metal curtain wall; a plane of drywall suspended from the inner face of the curtain wall is held away from the floor and the ceiling to allow natural light into the space without damaging the art work.

Completed: 2000
Architect and Interior Designer: Lohan Associates

Mary and Leigh Block Museum, Evanston, Illinois