Life of the body
Photography by Dan Dry
Red sky at night, athlete’s delight: the
forecast is good for the recently launched Gerald Ratner Athletics
Center, giving the University of Chicago community a space to stretch
muscles as well as minds.
Only 94 years after Bartlett Gymnasium opened
for business and 71 years after the Henry Crown Field House was
built, the University of Chicago has gotten physical once again,
this time with a $51-million athletics complex at the corner of
55th and Ellis, to the east of Stagg Field. The Gerald Ratner Athletics
Center isn’t quite finished (by mid-November, to give just
one example, none of the building’s clocks had been installed).
Indeed after a sprint to meet deadlines for an October 11 dedication,
the Ratner facilities staff has settled into the marathon pace of
punch lists and follow-through details.
Still the big picture is shaping up nicely.
From 6 a.m. until midnight, Monday through Friday (the hours are
slightly shorter on weekends), Ratner offers the campus community
a striking destination when the urge to exercise strikes. Wanting
an athletic “village” rather than a box, architects
Cesar and Rafael Pelli crossed visual boundaries the way U of C
professors cross disciplinary lines, and Chicago athletes in one
arena are always aware of those in the next field over. True to
form, they take their training seriously.—M.R.Y.