Wintrust Arena is Chicago’s premiere event destination

Chicago, IL, USA

Wintrust Arena is a landmark event facility in McCormick Square on the Near South Side of Chicago, developed through a public-private partnership between DePaul University and Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. The arena is home to a wide range of entertainment, business, and sporting events, including DePaul University’s basketball teams, and Chicago Sky from the Women's National Basketball Association league.  We collaborated with experts in acoustics, stage lighting, and theater planning to create a dynamic arena that offers an inspiring experience for visitors and actively contributes to the neighborhood.

arena seats
The upward-swelling roof allows the arena’s eaves to live within the scale of the neighboring buildings.

At the heartbeat of the neighborhood

Wintrust Arena is cloaked in an enormous glass façade that invites the public to view inside. This contemporary design grew from a deep study of the adjacent Prairie Avenue District and McCormick Place, the country’s largest convention center campus. The building’s transparency and human-scale creates a connective link between McCormick Place and the neighboring district, strengthening the area’s urban fabric. The bright, uplifting scale of the exterior continues inside with multilevel space that is flexible for a variety of uses. The arena sits at ground level, with retail and concessions accessible from the street.

Surrounding the building, the pavilions that house support spaces form a stacked composition with the projected roof and transparent façades.
“This arena has been a much-anticipated feature for our campus, the DePaul community, and neighborhood as a whole, and we’re excited to bring this new offering to our clients and generate another economic boost in our city and state.” — Lori Healey, Former CEO of Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
With panoramic views and ideal acoustics, the Wintrust Arena hosts a wide range of concerts and cultural events.

Joining Chicago’s iconic history of lyrical structures

The arena’s distinctive roof echoes the tradition of Chicago’s great public rooms, including Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, the Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom, and Chicago Union Station. Visible from Chicago’s Loop, the stepped roof swells above the arena’s seating, creating an evocative pattern that glows at night. Inside the arena, the roof’s structure is exposed, revealing steel support trusses. This expressive component of the architecture recalls the emergence of steel-tubed design in 1960s-era Chicago.

More About the Project

Project Team

Principal Collaborators

  • Architect of Record: Moody Nolan / AECOM / Interactive Design Architects, Inc.
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti / Stearn-Joglekar, Ltd.
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineering: Environmental Systems Design
  • Plumbing Engineering: Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc.
  • Acoustic Design: Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams, Inc.

Project Information

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • Client: Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority / DePaul University
  • Size: 300,000 sq. ft. / 27,871 sq. m.
  • Completion: 2017
  • Firm Role: Design Architect


  • 2017, Award of Merit, IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) Illumination
  • 2017, New Construction Award, Project of the Year, CISCO (Construction Industry Service Corporation)
  • 2018, Platinum, Building Team Awards, Building Design + Construction
  • 2018, American Architectural Award, The Chicago Athenaeum
  • 2019, Facilities of Merit, Athletic Business
  • Principal Project Photography: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO