Site: Belleville, IL, United States

Status: Conceptual Design

Program: Commercial

Client: Lincoln Theater

The Cineplex is situated at the edge of the old town-center of Belleville, Illinois. The project is a hybrid of Midwestern farm-scape, Midwestern town-scape and a Big Box-scape. This project is a new solution for big box massing that interfaces with the natural terrain and that redefines the disappearance of small U.S. town centers in the Midwest by sprawling strip mall culture.

The Cineplex is an elevated building creating outdoor theaters and open market spaces and public plazas underneath the belly. The massing is developed as a system of plug-in theater units with a spinal corridor allowing fissures and gaps for light to penetrate through the depth of the building for terraces, gardens, and courtyards. The interior is formed by multiple layers of programmatic thresholds that define the public galleries, party/meeting rooms, voids, and plateaus of various choreographed experiences.

The roof and the landscape are layered by a GREEN LACE structure that becomes the habitat for indigenous flora and fauna. The GREEN LACE allows for natural water filtration systems runoff, for micro-climates, and for organic pocket farming to develop an interface between architecture and landscape. The multimedia projection skin of the main highway elevation is designed to increase public awareness and allows the vast open parking lot to perform as an old-fashioned drive-in movie theater. The Cineplex is a case study for the transformative nature of the American landscape.