Built in the wake of Chicago’s great fire, The Auditorium Building, designed by the firm of Adler and Sullivan, has had many incarnations: from hosting live performances, to serving as a bowling alley and servicemen’s center in WWII. Purchased by Roosevelt University in 1946, the Auditorium remained dormant until it reopened in 1967.
EverGreene began its work on the theater’s restoration in 2001 by preparing a comprehensive historic finishes study to determine the original color scheme and what would be needed to return the theater interior to its original opulence. It included archival research, investigation of the existing finishes and microscopy to determine the original color palette. EverGreene created mock-ups so the design team could review a color palette and finishes, prior to implementation. Six stories above the theater floor, EverGreene restored “The Utterance of Life is a Song—The Symphony of Nature” the theater’s proscenium arch mural by Charles Holloway. Conservators cleaned the mural, and applied an isolating varnish to protect the original prior to inpainting to replace lost pigmentation and plaster technicians stabilized the ornamental plaster on the proscenium reducer curtain. Additionally we did the decorative painting of the theater’s ceiling, applied 16,000 square feet of missing gold-leaf gilding and stenciling, repaired the theater’s decorative plaster, restored scagliola columns, and recommended improvements to the lighting system.
Today, the spectacular 4,200-seat Auditorium Theatre hosts hundreds of live music, dance and other events every year for audiences that appreciate the theater’s beauty as well as its wonderful performances.