DePaul’s New Theater Wins Gold

The International Olympic Committee isn’t the only panel handing out gold these days.  The U.S. Green Building Council just certified DePaul University’s new theater building LEED Gold.

We took you on an extensive tour of the Pelli Clark Pelli-designed building when it opened in September of 2013.

You can read DePaul’s press release below the photo gallery.



The Theatre School at DePaul University Attains LEED Gold Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded DePaul University’s new Theatre School building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold status, making it Chicago’s first performing arts building to receive that level of certification.  “DePaul’s new Theatre School underscores the fact that Chicago is a great theatre city, and a great architectural city,” says Brian Imus, executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois. “Our city now boasts a performing arts building that is a role-model for sustainability, and that deserves a thunderous round of applause.”

It is the fourth building at DePaul to receive LEED certification, joining Arts & Letters Hall (LEED Gold awarded in 2012), the Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Science Building (LEED Gold award in 2009), and the DePaul Art Museum (LEED Silver awarded in 2011).

“This is DePaul’s third building to earn the gold standard for energy efficiency and environmental design,” said the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president. “As part of our comprehensive commitment to sustainability initiatives, we have pledged to build every new facility to LEED standards. DePaul has made good on that promise yet again.”

Certification of the project was based on green design and construction features that include the following:

  • Green roofing to reduce storm water run-off and create additional insulation
  • Water efficient landscaping (exterior) and 20 percent below typical water-use reduction (interior)
  • Optimization of energy performance (energy efficient primary heating, cooling, and ventilation systems)
  • Use of recycled content in construction materials, use of regional materials, and construction waste recycling
  • Use of low emitting materials throughout, and indoor air quality management
  • Automated lighting and mechanical systems controls
  • Multiple design innovations (including exterior wall system development and use of insulating materials)
  • Availability of alternative transportation and alternative transportation accommodation, among numerous other features and details.

“I am thrilled to report that, due to the outstanding efforts of the design and commissioning team, and the project’s contractor, we were awarded LEED Gold,” says Bob Janis, vice president for Facility Operations at DePaul. “This is no small feat with a building that contains so many large volume spaces and operates long hours.”

The Theatre School building was designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, with Cannon Design. WMA Consulting Engineers designed all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Schuler Shook was the theatre planning consultant. Kirkegaard Associates was the acoustics consultant. W.E. O’Neil Construction was the general contractor.  The building was dedicated in an opening ceremony on Sept. 12, 2013.

“The Theatre School community would like to thank every single member of our amazing design, engineering, and construction teams,” says John Culbert, Dean of The Theatre School. “It is a privilege that they created an environmentally responsible building without compromising any aspects of the very specific studio, shop, academic, and theatre production needs of our conservatory. This building will serve as the training ground for the next generation of theatre artists.  We are thrilled that their work will be shared with the community in a facility that can be considered a standard for sustainability in the performing arts.”

LEED is the U.S. Green Building Council’s internationally recognized rating system, and provides third-party verification that a building, home, or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within five main credit categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality.  For more information about the U.S. Green Building Council please visit:

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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