Providing a live sky view in a previously windowless planetarium.

Sky Pavilion
Adler Planetarium
Chicago, IL

Located at the end of an arm of land extending into Lake Michigan at Chicago’s Museum Campus, the original Adler Planetarium is a twelve-sided structure clad in rainbow granite, an Art Deco masterpiece by the architect Ernest Grunsfeld, Jr., which opened in 1930. An underground addition in 1972 and new entry pavilion in 1980 combined to create a confusing entry sequence, with exhibition areas scattered and incoherent. The 64,000-sf Sky Pavilion was added in 1998 to consolidate exhibit spaces and add a new planetarium theater and 200-seat restaurant.

Like the addition to the adjacent Shedd Aquarium, the Sky Pavilion was sited on the lake side of the existing building, preserving views of the historical structure from the approach by land. The simple glass form, triangular in section, gently arcs in a “C” shape around the original building, and is low enough to preserve views of its dome from the lake side. Unlike the original building, which had no windows, the Sky Pavilion is clad in glass to offer spectacular views of Lake Michigan, the Chicago skyline, and the night sky.

One year later, renovations to the original planetarium, including two new gift shops, the History of Astronomy Gallery, and a refurbished Sky Theater, were completed.


Wight & Company is pleased to announce Lohan Anderson’s integration into our firm, effective January 2016. Our website now showcases projects and awards from both firms.

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Project Details

Original architect and interior designer: Lohan Associates