Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority Selects Pelli Firm to Design McCormick Place Event Center

Architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli was selected to design the McCormick Place Event Center, which will include a home for DePaul men’s and women’s basketball. The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority released today preliminary architectural renderings of the 10,000-seat center. More images at (Architectural renderings by Pelli Clarke Pelli, courtesy of MPEA)

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–September 24, 2013.  A nine-member panel consisting of representatives from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), the city of Chicago and DePaul University has selected the internationally renowned architectural firm Pelli Clarke Pelli to design the McCormick Place Event Center that will include DePaul basketball as primary tenants.

The design concept features a sweeping curved roof above four transparent sides that will house DePaul men’s and women’s basketball along with a variety of civic, entertainment and convention events for Chicago and MPEA. A majority of the seating bowl and the backstage facilities will be located below street level allowing the events center to blend into the South Loop neighborhood and enhancing plans to the development of Motor Row. DePaul is expected to host 25-30 events annually in the facility including graduation ceremonies, which will allow each school of the university to have its ceremony under the same roof.

“We are delighted that Pelli Clarke Pelli has been selected to design the city’s new event center,” said the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul. “Pelli architects were terrific about addressing faculty input into the final design of DePaul’s Theatre School and in projecting an accurate budget. I am confident Pelli Clarke Pelli will design an equally special event center that will make the South Loop proud.”

The 10,000-seat event center is scheduled to open for the start of the 2016-2017 basketball season and will be located near McCormick Place on Cermak Road between Indiana and South Prairie avenues. Not only will the facility serve as a home for men’s and women’s basketball that is close to the university’s two primary campuses, it is expected to create jobs, attract tourism and bring economic development to the planned McCormick Place entertainment district.

“DePaul basketball has been synonymous with the city of Chicago since the 1970s and the historic years of Ray Meyer,” said Jean Lenti Ponsetto, DePaul athletic director. “Fast forward to 2013 and we’re very excited about renewing our winning tradition in men’s basketball and continuing our winning ways in women’s basketball.

“This stately and elegantly designed facility by Pelli Clarke Pelli will showcase not only the Blue Demons but also the rich tradition of BIG EAST basketball. Chicago and this innovative facility design will be seen nationwide as our newest television partner FOX Sports will annually televise all men’s home games and select women’s games.” Ponsetto said.

As part of the BIG EAST’s landmark partnership with FOX Sports, every BIG EAST conference game will be televised on national and regional networks, with the majority to air on FOX Sports 1, which began broadcasting to approximately 90 million homes across the country on Aug. 17. FOX Sports also is home to the NFL, MLB and NASCAR and is the future home of the U.S. Open (2015) and FIFA World Cup (2018).

The location is situated just three ‘L’ stops from DePaul’s Loop Campus that caters to half of the DePaul student body. The Lincoln Park Campus, which provides classes for most of the other half of DePaul’s 25,000 students, is 10 ‘L’ stops from the future home of the Blue Demons. Additionally, the South Loop location is a seven-mile trip down Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive, which is flanked by the city’s world-famous skyline and Lake Michigan. DePaul’s 80,000 alumni in the Chicagoland area will have easy access to the events center by major highways that will enable easy access to see the Blue Demons.

“Since the announcement of plans in May to build this facility in the South Loop, we have received such positive feedback from the basketball community in Chicago,” said men’s head coach Oliver Purnell. “With our high expectations for the upcoming season coupled with the continued process of the new facility being constructed, I can’t think of a better time to be a part of the DePaul basketball program. Our freshman class this year will have the opportunity to play in this beautiful building as seniors and we are looking forward to opening night in November 2016.”

“While we love playing on campus, we look forward to playing our BIG EAST games in this state-of-the-art facility,” said women’s head coach Doug Bruno. “The drawings for the events center are tremendous and this facility will be one of the premiere basketball facilities in the country. We look forward to not only being ranked in the top 25 on the court but also bringing our up-tempo brand of basketball to the South Loop.”

Founded in 1977 and led by Cesar Pelli, Fred Clarke, and Rafael Pelli, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects has designed some of the world’s most recognizable buildings, including the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the World Financial Center in New York and the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong. Most recently, the firm designed the new building for The Theatre School at DePaul that has received outstanding reviews.