Future
Firm
Architecture &
Design Research

The Den Theater


Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
Client: Withheld
Scope: Architecture (Renovation) + Masterplan 
Progress/Year: 2019–Ongoing



The Den Theatre was founded in 2010 in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. It  has grown organically over the past 10 years occupying the entirety of the building and expanding into adjacent structures. It is currently home to resident theater companies, comedy shows, and music acts.

Future Firm is leading both a long-term programming study in the form of a Masterplan for The Den Theatre, as well as implementing phased renovations and additions. A series of projects renovate and unify the existing layout and provide a clear design and programming strategy for The Den to expand over the coming years. This will accomodate innovative performance spaces, new restaurants, communal indoor and outdoor space, and a series of infrastructure upgrades. The primary design and programming strategy uses the concept of “Main Street” as a design approach. It extends the vibrant corridor of Milwaukee Ave and Wicker Park into the building, transforming under-utilized circulation space into vibrant, active public space with clear wayfinding systems that lead users to new and exciting restaurants, bars, and theaters. The idea of “Main Street” reinforces The Den’s existing role as a neighborhood hang-out and cultural anchor.
Mark