Construction is complete on the renovated and expanded Ravinia Dining Pavilion, the first of a two-phase project.
The renovation, overseen by Chicago-based architecture firm Wight & Company, features dining areas with more outdoor seating and open space.
The dining pavilion at Ravinia in Highland Park includes a new second-level al fresco outdoor dining area, which increases the outdoor seating capacity for patrons without adding to the building's current 43,000 square feet of space.
"Ravinia sought to build upon the success of its dining pavilion and enhance what it offers patrons, but without changing the structure's footprint," said Michael Barnes, design principal for the project at Wight & Company, who also handled the design of the building when it was first constructed in 2007.
"It was both a challenge and a unique opportunity to simultaneously increase the use of the building while still retaining harmony with its surroundings through a design that works with the original architecture as a result of its use of similar materials and form elements."
The first floor of the redesigned building now includes the new Lawn Bar, which offers indoor and outdoor seating. Large glass panels provide a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces and make it open to walk-by traffic. The expanded Festival Shop, which sells gifts and picnic gear, is now almost double in size, and the Ravinia Market has also been expanded. Wight reconfigured the Ravinia Market, similar to a food court, to increase the number of hot food stations to complement its traditional grab-and-go items for picnics on the lawn.
On the second floor, both the existing Park View restaurant and the new Tree Top restaurant offer covered outdoor seating for al fresco dining. The Tree Top was created out of underutilized banquet space, officials said.
The entire dining pavilion is run by Levy Restaurants and overseen by Michael Tstonton, the new executive chef at Ravinia.
"Even the most successful restaurants must refresh to remain enticing as trends and tastes change, and when it came time to rejuvenate Ravinia's Dining Pavilion, there was no question that we would turn to architect Michael Barnes of Wight & Company, who designed our original 2007 building with the legendary Dirk Lohan," said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman.
In the second phase of the dining pavilion's renovation, Wight & Company will focus on incorporating a new space to house The Music Experience, a multimedia experience and exhibit venue intended to increase awareness and appreciation of classical music. This 20,000-square-foot, two-story addition will connect to the dining pavilion's second level and offer extra rooftop bar space.