The Lookingglass Theatre Company

Chicago, Illinois

The theater was built within the historic Water Works building – a Michigan Avenue icon that withstood the 1871 fire. The main stage space allows for a maximum  capacity of 240 persons, 60 of whom may be seated at balcony level. In addition, we built a smaller 70-seat studio intended for theater presentations, special events, classes, rehearsals and intimate performances. A suspended drywall envelope was added to prevent sound vibration within the room. 

In an effort to maintain specific features of the historic building, Pepper converted existing space within this landmark to a flexible, state-of-the-art performance facility housing two theaters and associated public and performer support space.

The renovation lays bare the inner workings of the pump house in a gallery leading to the box office. Moveable seating risers, a demountable perimeter balcony, trapped stage floor and an array of lighting catwalks provide a highly flexible space for the innovative theater.

Owner: The Lookingglass Theatre Company
Architect: Morris Architects/Planners
National AIA Design Award

In bringing Lookingglass, a company dedicated to groundbreaking theater, into our historic treasure, the Water Works, we are celebrating the strength of Chicago’s past and the exciting possibilities of our future.

—Richard M. Daley
Former Mayor, The City of Chicago