Columbia College Chicago Media Production Center

Chicago, IL

Completed 2010

Columbia College Chicago

Cultural, Educational, Office

35,000 sf

LEED Gold Certified


By making typically behind-the-scenes aspects of the filmmaking process visible, the Columbia College Media Production Center is more than a building in which learning takes place: it is itself a valuable teaching and media production tool.

Featuring three large sound stages for instruction in film, video, and motion capture, as well as teaching space for lighting, set-making, directing, and animation classes, the Media Production Center is a professional-quality facility whose design encourages a new level of interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty.

The first new construction building in Columbia’s 128-year history, it is also a new model for sustainability in a discipline known for its high energy consumption.

The main soundstage is sized to allow multiple classes to participate during filmmaking.

Locating the equipment checkout at the heart of the building encourages chance encounters that facilitate collaboration and exchange.

Photo: Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing

The facade is designed to generate new visibility for the school by harnessing the materiality of light to energize the exterior of the building and provide a colorful identity in a busy urban setting.

Film by Hedrich Blessing and Thirst

Consultant Team


Magnusson Klemencic Associates, structural engineer

SPACECO, Inc., civil engineer

SITE Design Group, Ltd., landscape architect

Threshold Acoustics, acoustics consultant

US Equities, project manager


Citation of Merit, Distinguished Building, Design Excellence Awards, AIA Chicago, 2010