Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre Renovation

Studio Gang, Illinois, 2003


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Whether open or closed, theatregoers have a sensation of connection with the landscape 

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  • Whether open or closed, theatregoers have a sensation of connection with the landscape    
  • View from inside the theatre of the open roof    
  • Starlight Theatre at night    
  • Theatre level plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • Sections showing roof in closed and open position    
  • Fabrication of panels in a temporary building on site    
  • Erection of the panels    
  • Erection of the panels    

Renovation of Starlight Theatre to improve accessibility, capacity and stage area, with the addition of a petal-like motorised retractable roof

The theatre is of conventional proscenium form with an enclosed, copper-clad fly tower over the stage area, and dressing and services rooms under the back rows of the tiered seating. Lying loosely over this is an array of triangular elements, none having the same dimensions, apart from the six ‘petals’ of the opening roof.

The individual triangles, fabricated on site, have a steel perimeter beam with a deck of solid tongued-and-grooved wood. There is standing-seam stainless steel cladding with an ice and water shield underneath.

The petals each weighs more than 13,000kg and are attached to a structural steel torque tube with only two visible steel plates transferring the dead load to the top of the perimeter trusses.

Each triangular ‘petal’ has a primary steel frame with tongued-and-grooved wood finish on the inside and the standing-seam stainless steel cladding common with the rest of the roof.


  • Completed: 2003
  • Floor area: 12,500m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £5.3M
  • Address: Rock Valley College, 3301 North Mulford Road, Rockford, Illinois, 61114, United States

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