Northwestern’s new multi-sport training facility offers expansive views of Lake Michigan

Perkins+Will designed the facility.

April 19, 2018 |
View from Wilson Field in Ryan Fieldhouse

Photo: ©Steinkamp Photography. Courtesy of Perkins+Will.

Northwestern University recently opened the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Fieldhouse on the university’s Evanston campus. Perkins+Will designed the glass, metal, and stone complex that provides unobstructed views east and north toward Lake Michigan.

The multi-purpose center will provide year-round practice and training space for Northwestern student-athletes and includes Wilson Field, a practice field that can be used for football, lacrosse, or soccer. The fieldhouse dome was specifically designed to accommodate the kicking, punting, and functional needs of the athletic programs. A series of long-span steel arches correlate to the 10-yard grid of the football field below. The new facility will also serve as recreation and event space for campus programs like University convocations and the annual philanthropic Dance Marathon.


The exterior of the Ryan FieldhousePhoto: ©Steinkamp Photography. Courtesy of Perkins+Will.


“Our design goals were to make the most of the spectacular site overlooking Lake Michigan and create an exciting presence near the northern entry to the Evanston Campus,” says Perkins+Will Design Principal Bryan Schabel, in a statement about the project.

The views of Lake Michigan are provided by an all-glass north facade that also fills the space with natural light. Additionally, the Ryan Fieldhouse cantilevers out over the space below to maintain a pedestrian path along the lakefront. The Ryan Fieldhouse represents the first component of the $265 million Walter Athletics Center, also designed by Perkins+Will, which is scheduled to open this summer.


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