Rooftop work can be seen progressing at the iconic Adler Planetarium, located at 1300 S Lake Shore Drive in Near South Side. The Adler Planetarium is the occupying owner, whose plans include the replacement of the original dome tiling, as well the accompanying flat rooftops.
Designed by acclaimed architect Ernest A. Grunsfeld Jr., the building initially opened in 1930 as the first planetarium in the United States. The structure received National Historic Landmark status in 1987, and today continues to serve as a public museum with three full-sized theaters, space exhibitions, and numerous historical artifacts. The building also houses the Doane Observatory, one of the few public urban observatories.
The original structure is built in the Art Deco style, with brown granite as the primary cladding material, bronze accents, and cement tiles lining its dome. Attached to the central structure is the 60,000-square-foot Sky Pavilion, designed by Lohan Associates of Chicago and completed in 1999. This new wing includes a large slanted glass curtain wall looking out onto the lake. Only the flat rooftop portion of this latest section is being replaced.
Situated on an outcropping with spectacular skyline views, the planetarium occupies a portion of Chicago’s Museum Campus, which also comprises of the John G. Shedd Aquarium and The Field Museum. Just to the southwest of the entrance is bus service for Routes 130 and 146, with a parking lot located several paces further. Nearest rail transit can be found for the Metra at Museum Campus/11th St, an 18-minute walk west. Meanwhile the CTA L’s Green, Orange, and Red Lines are available at Roosevelt station, a 22-minute walk west.
Corey P. Friel is listed as the general contractor for the roughly $3 million restoration. According to its website, the planetarium will partially open for limited-capacity visits this coming July, with a full reopening expected for March 2022.