Preservationists rally to save Prentice Hospital

June 15, 2011

Chicago's old Prentice Women's Hospital has been named one of the most endangered historic places in America.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected the clover leaf-shaped building in light of Northwestern University's plans to demolish it. Prentice was designed by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.

Trustee Vince Michael made the announcement Wednesday at a rally for the building's preservation.

"For too long, Prentice Hospital has gone unrecognized and underappreciated in spite of its bold design, innovative engineering and ground breaking approach to hospital planning," Michael said.

According to Michael, only eight of the 233 sites on the endangered list have been lost.

Northwestern spokesman Alan Cubbage said the university plans to build new medical research facilities where Prentice now stands. He said Northwestern has been considering this plan since at least 2007-- the year the the new Prentice Women's Hospital opened. The Goldberg building will come under the university's ownership in September.

Local groups such as Landmarks Illinois and Preservation Chicago have come out against these plans. They have already applied for Prentice to become a city landmark, and they've placed the building on their own endangered lists. The city has yet to make a decision about the building's landmark status. Cubbage says Northwestern will not apply for a demolition permit until that decision is made.