Lyric Opera 60th Anniversary Concert Shell

Photo: Michael Brosilow

Chicago, IL

Completed 2014

Lyric Opera



Commissioned for the Lyric Opera’s 60th Anniversary Celebration, the Concert Shell is designed to bring a more intimate acoustic listening experience to the historic 3,500-seat Civic Opera House.

The design of the shell explores moments of continuity with its surroundings, encouraging an elegant transition between the space of the Opera House and the space of the stage. The shell consists of individual conic-shaped components with varying degrees of concavity and convexity that are easily and quickly assembled into modular elements, which can then be simply disassembled and stored. The same parts can be configured to accommodate a variety of performances, ranging from a soloist to a full orchestra and choir, ensuring the shell becomes a lasting element of the Lyric Opera repertoire. Modulating the surface quality of the wooden elements, with a greater variation of articulation near the top, results in a visually striking, technologically advanced form sculpted by sound.

Timelapse of Concert Shell installation courtesy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago