WBEZ | Bertrand Goldberg http://www.wbez.org/tags/bertrand-goldberg Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Breastfeeding, politics and Marina City http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-17/morning-shift-breastfeeding-politics-and-marina-city <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Breast Feeding - Flickr - DMurray82.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Social media and the issue of sharing breastfeeding photos has brought the debate about whether or not breastfeeding should be public on the web. What do you think? And Curious City explores Marina City and Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s life.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-breastfeeding-politics-and-marina-ci.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-breastfeeding-politics-and-marina-ci" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Breastfeeding, politics and Marina City" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 08:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-17/morning-shift-breastfeeding-politics-and-marina-city Marina City: Ideals in concrete http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/marina-city-ideals-concrete-108072 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Marina%20City%20topper.jpg" title="A detail of the iconic tower as seen from below. (Flickr/Dan Cioffi)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F101439739&amp;color=00deff&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>If you&rsquo;ve made your way around downtown Chicago, it&rsquo;s likely you&rsquo;ve spied a set of towers that look like nothing else around: Marina City. The set of ruffled high rises is also referred to as &ldquo;the corncobs&rdquo; or &ldquo;<a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/chicago-the-wilco-towers,57336/">the Wilco towers</a>&rdquo; because they figure prominently on the cover of the well-known band&rsquo;s <em>Yankee Hotel Foxtrot</em> <a href="http://wilco.kungfustore.com/category/249-cds/product/344-yankee-hotel-foxtrot-cd-wil12">album</a>.</p><p>From the moment these towers appeared on the landscape in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Marina City has been the subject of much curiosity. University of Chicago student Colin Griffin had some very specific questions about it, including:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Does present-day Marina City align with the designers&rsquo; intentions?</em></p><p>Colin was part of a University of Chicago class called &ldquo;Buildings as Evidence,&rdquo; which looked into architecture, its environment and implications. And as part of a special collaboration, Colin got to answer his <em>own </em>question &mdash; along with us (his classmates) and a little help from Curious City Senior Producer Jennifer Brandel. &nbsp;&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%20Flickr%20Buildings%20as%20Evidence%20group.jpg" style="height: 202px; width: 270px; float: right;" title="Our researchers and reporters are, from left to right: Angela Lee, Gus Springmann, Dan Cioffi and Colin Griffin. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>Collectively we tackled Colin&rsquo;s question by scouring historical archives, the Internet and the towers themselves. (For that play-by-play, check out our <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/721">reporters&rsquo; notebook</a>). &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Back to the future</strong></p><p>Despite its futuristic design and the best intentions of its designers and financiers, the Marina City of today occupies a very different position in its environment than it did when the first tower was completed in 1962. Built as a directed project with a specific goal in mind (namely, stemming urban flight), the evolution of Marina City in Chicago&rsquo;s skyline begs a pointed question: Did it work?</p><p><strong>The foundations and ideals</strong></p><p>Chicago-born architect <a href="http://bertrandgoldberg.org/">Bertrand Goldberg</a> saw structures as having power far beyond his novel designs. He believed architecture could influence behavior, improve our quality of life and even enhance democracy; that is, if only we would create structures that naturally foster a sense of community.</p><p>To meet his lofty ambitions for Marina City, Goldberg found a worthy partner: the project&#39;s principal financier, <a href="http://www.marinacityonline.com/history/who_built.htm">William L. McFetridge</a>, who had a dovetailing interest in reducing economic and social corrosion in post-WWII downtown Chicago. According to <a href="http://www.marinacity.org/history/light_reading.htm">a paperback book for prospective tenants</a>, McFetridge wanted to prevent the seemingly imminent demise of the inner city, so he devised a plan &ldquo;designed to return to the essential activities of modern man &ndash; <strong>work, home, recreation</strong> &ndash; to a closer, more natural association.&rdquo; The solution was Marina City, which the <a href="http://www.marinacity.org/history/light_reading.htm">paperback touted</a> would &ldquo;reverse the exodus of Chicago&rsquo;s central population towards the suburbs by bringing 900 families to live within two blocks of the Loop.&rdquo;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bertrand_goldberg_1952%20photo%20by%20torkel%20korling.jpg" style="height: 247px; width: 200px; float: left;" title="Bertrand Goldberg as a young architect in 1952. (MarinaCityOnline/Torkel Korling)" /></p><p><strong>Designing for interaction</strong></p><p>The intention of the first plan was to remove people from the city without actually placing them outside the borders. This was to be accomplished through verticality, by building residential life up rather than out. Essential to this was a <a href="http://www.marinacity.org/history/light_reading.htm">&ldquo;plan for relaxation and pleasure.&rdquo;</a> Goldberg wanted the towers to offer enough leisure to create a &ldquo;two-shift city&rdquo; so the downtown would retain vitality once the working day was over.</p><p>The book <em>The Apartment House in Urban America</em> by John Hancock (not to be confused with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hancock">this John Hancock</a>), offers early descriptions of Marina City&rsquo;s early innards. The first two floors contain the &ldquo;building machinery, shops, restaurants, bars, offices, a TV studio, a skating rink, a plaza and a sculpture garden next to a 700 boat marina.&rdquo; The 18 floors atop the first two commercial stories contain a &ldquo;helical ramp parking garage for 900 cars for the 896 apartments.&rdquo; The residential space begins on the 21st floor, &ldquo;high enough for unobstructed views and just above the greatest concentration of downtown air pollution.&rdquo; The amenities combined with the buildings&rsquo; structural ingenuity created a new living dynamic.</p><p><strong>Selling the selling points</strong></p><p>Looking through the Goldberg Archives at the <a href="http://www.artic.edu/research">Ryerson and Burnham Library</a> of the Art Institute, we discovered <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/95360819@N04/8811490295/">publicity materials </a>for Marina City dating from the early 1960s. One of the main <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-11/video-marina-city-its-youth-103807">selling points</a> was the buildings&rsquo; height. The twin sixty-story multi-use towers were billed as the tallest concrete buildings in the world and as the first all-electric city.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/95360819@N04/8821821710/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Figure%203-1.png" style="height: 278px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="An early brochure of Marina City's conceptual elements. (Source: Ryerson and Burnham Archives)" /></a></p><p>Comparisons of Marina City to nature (first used by architect Bertrand Goldberg) were common in newspaper articles. An article written by Ruth Moore of the <em>Sun Times </em>describes apartments that &ldquo;open out from the buildings&rsquo; cores like the petals on a flower.&rdquo; Chicago Tribune journalist Thomas Buck wrote the two towers were &ldquo;two trees, each 585 feet high, with 900 &lsquo;tree houses&rsquo; featuring special psychological benefits for tenants.&rdquo; The official brochure, titled &ldquo;City Within a City,&rdquo; emphasized the fireproof core structure, the view, the leisure complexes, living above the noise of the city and the fact that all-electric appliances and utilities allowed residents total control over the temperature.</p><p><strong>The early adopters</strong></p><p>The marketing campaign enticed 2,500 rental applicants for a total of 896 available units, requiring a screening committee to pick residents. A diverse set of folks moved in; the list of residents for November 1964 contains mostly German, Scandinavian, British, and Jewish surnames, with a total six African-Americans living in the buildings. Many of the residents were from Chicago, the Chicago suburbs, and New York City. Some were wealthy, leaving contact addresses in exclusive residential strips, suburbs and neighborhoods (Lake Shore Drive, Oak Street, Lake Forest, and the Upper East Side). Residents were approximately one-third single women, one-third single men, and one-third married couples.</p><p>A 1967 article by resident Edward Gilbreth gives a glimpse into life in Marina City. He mentions differences in the prices of apartments &mdash; the higher the floor, the more expensive the <a href="http://www.marina-city.com/sales/rent-marina-city.html">rent</a>. Gilbreth apparently enjoyed living in Marina City for the location and the conveniences. He eagerly mentions, for example, a cocktail lounge and a &ldquo;mammoth&rdquo; drug and liquor store.</p><p><strong>Remodeling the riverfront</strong></p><p>Before judging Marina City&rsquo;s mighty charge to create a new way of life while stemming urban flight, its location deserves a look, too. After all, it&rsquo;s challenging to create buzz for a neighborhood when there aren&rsquo;t many neighbors. &nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chicago_Marina_City_foundation_1961%20wikimedia%20commons%20Peter%20M.%20Spizziri%20%26%20Associates.JPG" style="height: 371px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="The foundation of Marina City in 1961. (Wikimedia Commons/Peter M. Spizziri &amp; Associates)" /></p><p>Historic <a href="http://sanborn.umi.com/">Sanborn Maps</a> (originally used for fire insurance purposes) are full of useful construction details. The maps indicated that in 1951 the riverfront north of the Loop hadn&rsquo;t yet been platted, and it was home to nothing but industrial railways and cold storage facilities. Aside from the Wrigley Building, there was no large-scale construction. Mid-century photographs of State Street reveal an industrial wasteland, separated from the Loop by a heavily polluted Chicago River flowing freely with garbage.</p><p>But as construction on Marina City began in November 1960, this scene rapidly transformed. In some sense Marina City was at the forefront of a new wave of development &mdash; one that expanded the density of downtown Chicago and spurred new high-rise construction across the river. Plans reveal architect Bertrand Goldberg even imagined a <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/95360819@N04/8775252736/lightbox/">&ldquo;forest&rdquo; of Marina Cities</a> populating the riverfront and providing the &ldquo;city within a city&rdquo; experience to thousands of Chicagoans. We can only imagine what that would have looked like.</p><p>While the vision was never realized in practice, the sentiment is visible in the development boom that began in the latter half of the 20th century and continues today. Though Marina City doesn&rsquo;t dominate the Chicago skyline like it did in 1964, it paved the way for the transition of the north riverfront from an industrial no man&rsquo;s land to a high-density metropolis. Today, the area is home to some of the world&rsquo;s most formidable supertall buildings, including the <a href="http://www.trumphotelcollection.com/chicago/">Trump International Hotel and Tower</a> and esteemed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.330northwabashavenue.com/toc.cfm">330 North Wabash</a>.</p><p><strong>Shucking the corncobs</strong></p><p>In 1977, Marina City Sales, Inc. led a <a href="http://www.marinacityonline.com/history/goes_condo.htm">partition of the towers into condos</a>, a physical and ideological shift that didn&rsquo;t sit well with Goldberg. From the beginning, Goldberg made clear that each structural entity was interdependent. Clearly, he had envisioned a sense of community shared by a group of residents who would be able to live efficiently and economically, freeing them from many financial pressures and thus promoting leisure time and social interaction &mdash; all within the confines of Marina City. With these price increases, many residents were forced to leave Marina City, giving way to deep-pocketed real estate investors who purchased large numbers of the repartitioned condominiums.</p><p>Investors included Charles Swibel and Chicago Alderman Edward &lsquo;Fast Eddie&rsquo; Vrdolyak, who was sold &ldquo;50 condo units &hellip; at <a href="http://www.marinacityonline.com/history/goes_condo.htm">&lsquo;bargain basement&rsquo; prices.</a>&rdquo; Over the next 12 years, finances collapsed. From the late 1970s through the early 1990s, Marina City changed hands until the non-residential components of Marina City were reapportioned to private business and independent investors through various means, <a href="http://www.marinacityonline.com/history/bankrupt_owners_sell.htm">including bankruptcy and loan defaults</a>. What remained was a skeleton of a once healthy and flourishing community.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%20Fig%204.%20-%20Graphic%20National%20Geographic%2C%20June%2C1967%20.jpg" style="height: 224px; width: 220px; float: right;" title="One of the project's best-known and most-loved characteristics are the porches. Here, a swinging porch soiree from 1976. (National Geographic)" /></p><p>As new business moved into Marina City&rsquo;s commercial and retail spaces, the city-within-a-city began to look more and more like a central entertainment district that catered to <em>visitors </em>rather than permanent residents. Hotels sprouted nearby and the project&rsquo;s ice rink was converted to an expensive Smith &amp; Wollensky steakhouse. Goldberg&rsquo;s city had been spliced up and then infiltrated from all directions.</p><p><strong>A current view</strong></p><p>Today it&rsquo;s unclear how much of a true community remains at Marina City. <a href="http://www.stevendahlman.com/">Steven Dahlman</a> is the &nbsp;resident Marina City historian and a photographer. We owe a great deal of our research to the news, history, real estate listings, and an extensive blog he&rsquo;s collected on his site: <a href="http://www.marinacityonline.com/">Marina City Online</a>.</p><p>Dahlman &mdash; who lives in one tower and has his photo studio in another &mdash; says residents can run into each other in many locations, including the ground-level retail outlets and restaurants, the laundry facilities, the roof-top observatories, and a gym on the 20th floor. Though residents continue to move in and out, Dahlman says a sense of community springs from a low turnover rate. He also says it&rsquo;s common for one generation of owners to pass units down to the next generation. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;You have a lot of people here who have been here for a long time and plan to be here for a long time. Certainly more than any other place I&rsquo;ve lived there&rsquo;s a heightened sense of community. It&rsquo;s kind of a neighborhood in itself,&rdquo; Dahlman says. &ldquo;In fact Marina City is its own precinct: the 27th precinct in the 42nd ward.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>And while the rent and mortgages at Marina City are not necessarily as expensive as many neighboring River North addresses, Goldberg did not want residents of Marina City to spend large sums of money on anything, including activities and entertainment. Today, the towers are surrounded by dozens of high-end restaurants and clubs where locals and visitors alike can part with their cash.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%20Dan%20Ciofi%20photo.jpg" style="height: 159px; width: 220px; float: left;" title="It took a few decades before Marina City had neighboring buildings. Here a view of modern day Marina City in context. (Flickr/Dan Cioffi)" /></p><p><strong>But did it work?</strong></p><p>Marina City&rsquo;s bizarre corncob-esque forms have remained essentially unaltered over the course of their nearly half-century existence, but what of the rest? The buildings have greatly deviated from Bertrand Goldberg&rsquo;s initial vision. Today they&rsquo;re more a residential stack sitting atop a mixed-use building than a vertically complete neighborhood. And Marina&rsquo;s status as a &ldquo;city within a city&rdquo; is tenuous at best.</p><p>But in another way Goldberg&rsquo;s expectations were met. As noted, the towers now stand amid a cluster of high-density, mixed-use and residential skyscrapers. It would seem that the project did in fact help repopulate Chicago&rsquo;s urban core. While there&rsquo;s insufficient data to make a broad claim about the building&rsquo;s role in post-WWII white flight, some of the aspirations of Marina City&rsquo;s financiers and designers came to fruition.</p><p>Though Goldberg&rsquo;s vision of a concrete forest of self-contained cities in central Chicago was never actualized, his plan for a high-density urban core was not far from the mark. And what&rsquo;s more, the building&rsquo;s peculiar, pseudo-organic forms still elicit as much curiosity from tourists and Chicagoans as they did when they were first erected. Still inhabited, still towering above the river, and still downright odd, the Marina City towers are poised to stay.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Curious City is on Twitter! Follow the series<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZCuriousCity"> @WBEZCuriousCity</a>.</em></p><p><em>Correction: This story originally misnamed an investor. That investor&#39;s correct name is&nbsp;Charles Swibel.</em></p></p> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/marina-city-ideals-concrete-108072 Maxim's: The restaurant that put Chicago on the haute cuisine map http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/maxims-restaurant-put-chicago-haute-cuisine-map-107864 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Maximsbrochure%20big-18.jpg" title="(Photo from City of Chicago brochure)" /></div><p>Restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff made news recently by announcing he purchased the old Maxim&rsquo;s space on Goethe Street from the City of Chicago. Sodikoff said he plans to restore the restaurant to its glory days of the &#39;60s and &#39;70s when it reigned supreme in Chicago&rsquo;s culinary landscape.</p><p>But even Rick Kogan, who hosted a live show in the Maxim&rsquo;s space in recent years, only has a few memories of its glory days: cocktails with co-workers after the <em>Chicago Daily News</em> folded and a New Year&#39;s Eve in his twenties. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure my father through his connections got me in,&quot; Kogan said. &quot;It was stylish beyond words. I remember having to rent a tuxedo.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s most of what Chicagoans know of Maxim&rsquo;s at this point (if this is not true of you, please share some stories in the comments). That and the fact that its interior is an exact replica of the legendary Parisian establishment. But shouldn&#39;t Chicago&#39;s food fans know a little more about the place that put the Midwest on the culinary map?</p><p>Maxim&#39;s opening made it was a fixture of the society pages in 1963. In 1982 there was an extensive history of Maxim&rsquo;s published by the <em>Chicago Reader</em>. That was around the time Nancy Goldberg sold the restaurant after a 19-year run, most of that as the indisputable pinnacle of Chicago&rsquo;s restaurant scene. Ironically, everything but the spiral staircase entryway was subterranean.</p><p>In the &#39;80s a few restaurantuers attempted new concepts in 24 East Goethe, but none lasted more than two years. Goldberg wound up using the space for special occassions and events before her death in 1996.</p><p>When Goldberg&#39;s children couldn&#39;t decide what to do with the space after her death, they gave it to the city. Under Lois Weisberg, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs published the <em>Reader</em> article as a brochure. The massive PDF file was available for download on the city&rsquo;s tourism website as well as the city-maintained maximschicago.org. Unfortunately consolidation of city departments (or the space&#39;s recent auction) seems to have let Maxim&rsquo;s website fall through the cracks.</p><p>That&rsquo;s a shame because Don Rose paints an exhaustive and exquisite picture of Maxim&rsquo;s in the <em>Reader</em> piece. Many of the details and anecdotes about Maxim&#39;s only exist in Rose&#39;s story. For instance the discoteque that opened in a side room in Maxim&rsquo;s in 1965 was Chicago&rsquo;s first. Yet searching for &ldquo;Disc de Maxim&rsquo;s&rdquo; only returns one Google result. Rose, however, shares juicy details like the 200 records handpicked by a Parisian discotheque queen named Regine and the rules under which the 1,000 exclusive members were governed.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/currententrance.jpg" style="height: 227px; width: 299px; float: left;" title="The exterior of Maxim's today. (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>More important for modern Chicago diners wondering what Sodikoff might have up his sleeve, Rose describes Maxim&rsquo;s food in great detail. And though the restaurant was considered haute cuisine, many of the dishes sound like the spiritual ancestors to current offerings from Longman and Eagle or Girl and the Goat. Bone marrow, foie gras, sweetbreads and kidneys were all commonly found on Maxim&rsquo;s menu.</p><p>Maxim&rsquo;s is inextricably linked to Chicago&rsquo;s culinary landscape. Most French restaurants in the area were either founded by a Maxim&rsquo;s chef or had one pass through at some point. Kiki of Kiki&#39;s Bistro moved to the country to work as Maxim&#39;s first sommelier.</p><p>If anyone is a fitting champion of Maxim&#39;s legacy, it&#39;s Brendan Sodikoff. His restaurants focus on French cuisine served in opulent settings with an element of wistful nostalgia.</p><p>Perhaps it was the success of his first restaurant, Gilt Bar, that gave Sodikoff the idea to recreate Maxim&#39;s. Gilt Bar&#39;s location, 230 West Kinzie, saw restaurant after restaurant fail following a fire in 1986 that shut down a popular place called George&#39;s. That fire also brought an end to another effort of restauranteur (George Badonsky) to revive Maxim&#39;s.</p><p>Perhaps Sodikoff can make Maxim&rsquo;s stick as well.</p><p><em>Andrew Gill is a web producer for WBEZ. Follow him on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/andrewgill">Twitter</a> or <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/108371235914028306960/?rel=author">Google</a>+.</em></p></p> Tue, 02 Jul 2013 02:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/maxims-restaurant-put-chicago-haute-cuisine-map-107864 Preservationists: Re-using former Prentice Hospital could mean more money, jobs http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-01/preservationists-re-using-former-prentice-hospital-could-mean-more-money <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS2508_Prentice%20Women%27s%20Hospital_Flickr_TheeErin.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Prentice Women's Hospital (Flickr/TheeErin)" />Preservationists who want to prevent demolition of the former Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital seem to be an unstoppable force.</p><p>They&#39;ve argued for the <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-the-demolition-save-bertrand-goldberg-s-old-prentice-hospital">architectural merits&nbsp;</a>of the Bertrand Goldberg-designed building. When that<a href="http://www.skylinenewspaper.com/news/11-01-2012/Prentice_denied_landmark_status">&nbsp;didn&#39;t pan out,</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/backtalk/2012/12/court_battle_over_old_prentice.html">they went to court</a>. Now, after winning <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/11/15/preservationists_file_lawsuit_to_ov.php">temporary landmark status </a>for the building in court, they&#39;ve brought out a different tactic: re-examining the bottom line.</p><p>All along Northwestern University has said tearing down the old Prentice and building a new research facility would generate <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/10/northwestern-announces-case-for-new-biomedical-research-center-on-former-prentice-site.html">thousands of jobs and billions in economic investment.</a></p><p>Now the<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Prentice/146981851986833"> Save Prentice Coalition</a> is following suit.&nbsp;This week they released a new economic impact study, commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The study argues that re-using Prentice <em>and</em> developing a new facility would generate more money and jobs than demolition and new construction.&nbsp;</p><p>The study claims the rehab would generate one-time taxes and temporary jobs, in fields ranging from construction to finance and insurance. And a re-designed, multi-purpose Prentice would mean 980 permanent jobs and just over $1 million a year in local tax revenues.</p><p>In addition to the study, they put forth <a href="http://saveprentice2013.wordpress.com/">four different </a>re-use alternatives for the site (one planning proposal and 3 building designs), which were originally submitted for a competition held last year by the <a href="http://www.iit.edu/news/iittoday/?p=9673">Chicago Architecture Club</a>.</p><p>In each of the designs, the Prentice building and its iconic, cloverleaf structure, play an auxiliary or supporting role to the main research facility.</p><p>Ed Torrez, principal architect at <a href="http://www.bauerlatozastudio.com/">BauerLatoza Studio</a> (and former Chicago Landmarks commissioner), says Prentice would still have an important function.</p><p>His design puts office and meeting spaces in Prentice. &quot;That&#39;s where that exchange of ideas would happen. So it would support the research labs but it would support them in a very strong way.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6891_BauerLatoza Prentice Rendering.jpg" style="width: 250px; float: left; height: 255px;" title="BauerLatoza Embracing Prentice (courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation)" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The BauerLatoza design is called &quot;Embracing Prentice.&quot; The signature element is a towering, concave, glass backdrop to the old Prentice building, which would also provide sweeping corridors to the new research building.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6893_Kujawa 2.jpg" style="float: right; height: 250px; width: 250px;" title="Kujawa Architecture LLC" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://crkarch.com/">Kujawa Architecture</a>&nbsp;design involves a neat trick.The new building would be structurally independent, though anchored in a core that penetrates the base of the old Prentice. But as you can see, from certain angles it would appear to almost float above the base, like a card magically rising out of its deck.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6892_C &amp; W-scr.jpg" style="float: left; height: 250px; width: 250px;" title="Cyril Marsollier &amp; Wallo Villacorta" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The award-winning design by Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta also involves an optical illusion: kind of a now-you-see-it, now-you don&#39;t sleight of hand. Half of the old Prentice building would be encased within the new building (and visible via an interior atrium). But to a casual observer walking by outside, it would still appear as if it was still whole, thanks to its reflection in the new building&rsquo;s glass exterior.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Whether this latest focus on the economics of re-use will prompt a different response from Northwestern University remains to be seen. But a reckoning is coming: lawyers representing a coalition of preservationists and the city of Chicago are scheduled to meet in court next week.</p></p> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 05:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-01/preservationists-re-using-former-prentice-hospital-could-mean-more-money Judge's ruling will halt demolition of the old Prentice Women's Hospital http://www.wbez.org/sections/architecture/judges-ruling-will-halt-demolition-old-prentice-womens-hospital-103874 <p><p><em>Updated 3:15 p.m. </em></p><p>Northwestern University can&rsquo;t move ahead with demolishing the old Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital just yet.</p><p>A Cook County Circuit judge issued an injunction Thursday afternoon that essentially prevents the city of Chicago from issuing a demolition permit.</p><p>Northwestern University wants to tear down the building and put up a new research facility. Preservationists argue it&#39;s an icon.</p><p>Preservationists filed a lawsuit against the city and the Chicago Landmarks Commission Thursday to prevent that.&nbsp;The suit seeks to reinstate Prentice&#39;s landmark designation, arguing the commission didn&#39;t follow its own landmarks ordinance.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Melba Lara asked our reporter Cassidy Herrington what happened in court.</em></p><p><em><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F67582161&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></em></p><p>The lawsuit was filed the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Landmarks Illinois. The city Landmarks Commission had cleared the way for demolition in a Nov. 1 meeting.</p><p>But Thursday, Judge Neil Cohen issued an injunction until the decision-making process is further examined in court. Cohen said he was concerned that there was not a reasonable amount of time for the public to voice their opinions when the Landmarks Commission flipped positions during that meeting. Until the court decides whether the process was transparent, Cohen ordered a &quot;legal shield&quot; for the building.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><p>Roderick Drew, a spokesperson from the city&rsquo;s law department, said the city is disappointed by the judge&rsquo;s decision.</p><p>Drew added the commission believes it &ldquo;took the appropriate steps and followed the proper procedures.&rdquo; The city plans to file a motion to dismiss the complaint for the next court date on Dec. 7.</p>Coincidentally, a few hours after the judge&#39;s ruling, the Chicago Architecture Foundation held an exhibition Thursday evening that unveiled 71 hypothetical reuse designs for the structure.</div></div></div><p>Architecture Foundation President Lynn Osmond said before the court ruling, she thought it was &quot;game over&quot; for Prentice. But by the time of the exhibition last night, she said the mood had turned hopeful.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the architects and designers in the room thought that this was all not for naught,&quot; Osmond said. &quot;There is an opportunity to perhaps test the theory of Prentice&rsquo;s adaptive reuse.&rdquo;</p><p>More than 200 architects and preservationists met at the foundation&#39;s showcase, where they waited for the unveiling of the design proposal winners. Entries included everything from bridges, to urban green spaces, to a high rise on top of the building.<img alt="" are="" buildings="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/buildings are sleeping_detail.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; height: 455px; width: 400px;" the="" title="Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta's winning reuse design, " /></p><p>Project team Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta won first place for their proposal called &quot;The Buildings Are Sleeping.&quot; The design would cut Bertrand Goldberg&rsquo;s symmetrical structure in half, build an adjoining new structure, and use the reflection in the windows to make Prentice&rsquo;s four-leaf clover shape seem whole again.</p><p>&ldquo;We are being respectful to Goldberg&#39;s building,&quot; Villacorta said. &quot;We don&rsquo;t want to detract from it, we don&rsquo;t want to hide it, we&rsquo;re more revealing it in a different way.&rdquo;</p><p>The design submissions will be on display until February.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 15 Nov 2012 17:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/architecture/judges-ruling-will-halt-demolition-old-prentice-womens-hospital-103874 On video: Marina City in its youth http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-11/video-marina-city-its-youth-103807 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/marina city vintage footage.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/wSUvsHy537Q" width="601"></iframe></p><p><em>Updated 9:07 a.m.</em></p><p>The first residents of Marina City &mdash; architect Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s architectural and urban planning <em>tour de force</em> &mdash; moved in 50 years ago this week.</p><p>Goldberg&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-11/historic-meeting-city-landmarks-commission-gives-prentice-thumbs-%E2%80%94-then-down">other Chicago landmark may be under attack</a>, but this city-within-a-city is still going strong. So let&#39;s mark the occasion by digging some silent footage taken when the complex and its remarkable twin cylindrical residential towers were still new.&nbsp;The crisp, color images were uploaded to YouTube by a company called Clips &amp; Footage, an ofutfit whose YouTube channel describes it as &quot;a friendly and independent supplier of high quality archive film.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Resident Steve Dahlman, who operates the indispensable Marina City Online website, said he discovered this video a few years ago.&nbsp;&quot;The footage is most likely from 1964,&quot; Dahlman said. &quot;All we know for sure is it was from a mid-1960s travel film, <em>Chicago Believe it or Not</em>.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s a fun clip, particularly when the camera moves inside and shows funky and overstuffed late 1960s interiors that far divorced from the cool modernity of the buildings&#39; exteriors. There are pretty good shots of the old plaza level Marina 300 restaurant, too. The helicopter shots show just how much the River North area has developed since the 1960s.</p><p>Enjoy.</p></p> Wed, 14 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-11/video-marina-city-its-youth-103807 Prentice Hospital finally makes the landmarks commission agenda — but a few curves might be in store http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/prentice-hospital-finally-makes-landmarks-commission-agenda-%E2%80%94-few-curves-might <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7100433457_88f10fc0e0_b.jpg" style="width: 619px; height: 464px; " title="Prentice Women's Hospital (Flickr/Jen Marie)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F65522052&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ffe12b" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>An unusual twist in the former Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital saga: A city department could likely find itself arguing for &mdash; and then against &mdash; preservation of the cloverleaf-shaped structure during Thursday&#39;s meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.</p><p>According to a draft agenda of the meeting, staffers from the landmarks division of the Department of Housing and Economic Development are scheduled to ask the commission to pass a resolution granting preliminary landmark status to the Bertrand Goldberg-designed former hospital. But if the resolution passes, the department&#39;s commissioner Andrew J. Mooney &mdash; an ex-officio member of the commission &mdash; would then submit a report arguing <em>against</em> the designation, essentially asking the body to undo his own agency&#39;s recommendation.</p><p>&quot;...Northwestern University should be allowed to pursue its long-term plan for a medical research facility on the site of the former Prentice Hospital,&quot; Mooney wrote in the conclusion of the report. &quot;As a result, the Department cannot recommend landmark designation of the former Prentice Hospital and further recommends that the commission reject or rescind a preliminary designation, as appropriate.&quot;</p><p>A department spokesperson and others in City Hall declined to comment on the approach. A member of the city&#39;s architectural community, who did not want to be named, criticized the move but called it &quot;fiendishly clever, in a way. It gives Prentice its day in court while ultimately giving Northwestern what it wants.&quot; The commission&#39;s agenda, a beautifully-done designation report on Prentice, Mooney&#39;s rebuttal and a draft resolution citing the provision of the municipal code that would allow the preliminary designation to be rescinded or rejected <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/zlup/Historic_Preservation/Agendas/Nov2012_CCLFINALpost.pdf">can all be found here.</a></p><p>The move comes on the heels of an opinion piece by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that appeared Tuesday on the website of the Chicago <em>Tribune</em> in support of the $1 billion facility Northwestern seeks to build on Prentice&#39;s site, 333 E. Superior. &quot;It is clear that the current building cannot accommodate the groundbreaking research facility that Northwestern needs to build, and I support the decision to rebuild on the site,&quot; Emanuel wrote.</p><p>The landmarks commission could still vote to grant the designation, but such a move would seem unlikely given Mooney, Emanuel and Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) &mdash; the former hospital is in his ward &mdash; support Northwestern&#39;s plan.</p><p>A group of preservation organizations called the Save Prentice Coalition had attempted for months to get the commission to put the hospital on its agenda for landmark consideration. Members of the organization were not available for comment late Tuesday. However, the group released a statement on its Facebook page saying the city&#39;s landmarks ordinance &quot;clearly and unambiguously&quot; states the commission can only consider historic and architectural criteria in its deliberations.</p><p>&quot;<span class="userContent">A building is required to meet only two of the [seven required] landmark criteria,&quot; the group said. &quot;Historic Prentice meets four:</span><span class="userContent"> it is an important part of Chicago&#39;s history; it represents important architecture; it was designed by an important architect; and it is unique and distinctive in its physical appearance.</span>&quot;</p><p>The landmarks commission&#39;s meeting begins Thursday at 12:45 p.m. in room 201-A of City Hall.</p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/prentice-hospital-finally-makes-landmarks-commission-agenda-%E2%80%94-few-curves-might Critic's vision to preserve Prentice is shaky -- but could have another merit altogether http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/critics-vision-preserve-prentice-shaky-could-have-another-merit-altogether <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/18PRENTICE1-popup.jpg" style="float: right; " title="Architect Jeanne Gang's rendering of a possible solution for Prentice. (Courtesy of Studio Gang)" /></div><p>You&#39;ve seen this week&#39;s idea by the <em>New York Times</em>&#39; architecture critic to save the former Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/18/arts/design/adapting-prentice-womens-hospital-for-new-use-in-chicago.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">by building a research tower on top</a> of the iconic cloverleaf shaped structure?</p><p>The notion has been the subject of chatter in architecture and preservation circles, particularly since critic Michael Kimmelman got Chicago architect Jeanne Gang to flesh out his idea and to create pretty snazzy renderings of the proposed complex.&nbsp;</p><p>On first blush, the plan shows above-the-box thinking worthy of some applause. Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s iconic modernist structure would seem to escape the bulldozer, which is what Prentice supporters want. And Northwestern University would get the new research building it wants, without having to demolish Prentice to do it.</p><p>But as a real solution for Prentice the idea falls flat. Under this idea, Goldberg&#39;s building would be visually overpowered by its taller addition. And what would the cloverleaf towers &mdash; now downgraded to being just the midsection of a new complex &mdash; do? What is truly being preserved? I would fear the quatrefoils would become an empty concrete Atlas, with much of its original space taken up by structural and mechanical systems needed to support the new world above it.</p><p>In addition, to elegantly build a 31-story tower on top of a building that wasn&#39;t originally designed to carry the extra load would be frightfully expensive. Yeah, they recently added 25 floors to the city&#39;s Blue Cross/Blue Shield Building, as Kimmelman states, but that skyscraper was designed to be added on &mdash; and the finished result is building that looks and functions as it did before. It&#39;s just taller.</p><p>Plus, does Northwestern even want this as a solution? In his piece, Kimmelman said a spokesman &quot;would not say whether the university would entertain such a notion.&quot; Which says volumes. Particularly since the Save Prentice Coalition, led by preservation group Landmarks Illinois, presented the university with <a href="http://www.landmarks.org/preservation_news_prentice_reuse_study.htm">a reuse study</a> for Prentice a while back, but Northwestern dismissed it as expensive and unworkable. In a<a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121018/BLOGS08/121019745/jeanne-gang-goes-for-the-win-win-in-prentice-design"> <em>Crain&#39;s</em> story</a> Thursday, the university made their point a little finer:</p><p>&ldquo;It certainly is a very interesting drawing and an interesting concept, but like I said, it doesn&#39;t address the university&#39;s need to have new building connect to the existing building on a floor-by-floor basis and ultimately have a building that&#39;s 1.2 million square feet,&rdquo; a Northwestern spokesman said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/untitled%20shoot-030_1.jpg" style="float: left; " title="" /></div><p>This is not intended as a take-down of Kimmelman and Gang&#39;s idea, though. In fact, their vision has a significant, if unintended merit: It undesrcores the mass public interest in Prentice&#39;s fate and demonstrates there is a wider circle of experts who are thinking of ways to preserve the old hospital. And the Commission on Chicago Landmarks should weigh in now and grant preliminary landmark status to Prentice in order to allow time &mdash; and a process &mdash; to bring those people and ideas to the table.</p><p>The preliminary landmark designation would temporarily spare Prentice from demolition for a year. It would give City Hall the ability to examine whether a permanent designation and reuse plan are possible by working with the university, preservationists and experts such as Gang. That process might very well bring the &quot;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-15/business/chi-ald-reilly-said-he-supports-nu-plan-to-tear-down-prentice-building-20121015_1_prentice-site-nu-plan-lurie-medical-research-center">eureka moment</a>&quot; that saves Prentice, as Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) spoke of when he seemingly reluctantly came out in favor of demolition last earlier this week. Or it could reveal the building has no future use at all &mdash; which I doubt is true.</p><p>But at least a deliberative and public process would have been followed.</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/critics-vision-preserve-prentice-shaky-could-have-another-merit-altogether Architectural swap meet? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-09/architectural-swap-meet-102583 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS2508_Prentice%20Women%27s%20Hospital_Flickr_TheeErin_0.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="Prentice Women's Hospital (Flickr/TheeErin)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F60678325&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Bertrand Goldberg&#39;s 1975 Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital is a crowd-splitter of a building. Fans point to the building&#39;s complex engineering and singular look. Detractors find it ugly, a jarring contrast set against other modern architecture.</p><p>The old Prentice<em> is</em> an unforgettable building, involving a tall, clover-shaped structure perched atop a squat square base - a sort of space-age, modernist take on a merry-go-round.</p><p>But there&#39;s practicality behind the curious look of the building. Goldberg&#39;s design allowed for a central nurses&#39; station, from which the hospital rooms radiated out like spokes on a wheel. Instead of traveling a long corridor to see patients, caregivers could assess the state of things at a glance around the circular space. Think of it as a kinder, gentler version of the <a href="http://cartome.org/panopticon1.htm">panopticon</a>, the structure forever made sinister by Michel Foucault.</p><p>Goldberg&#39;s vision anticipated current medical care, in which small groups of health professionals work in tight units to provide a range of services. The building also made it possible to combine the departments of obstetrics and gynecology with the Institute of Psychiatry (because motherhood and madness go hand in hand, right?!).</p><p>Prentice is one of <a href="http://bertrandgoldberg.org/works/">eight hospitals built by Goldberg</a> over a 20-year stretch, starting in the late 1960s. The first was also built in Illinois, out in Elgin, and&nbsp;it too apparently is in <a href="http://bertrandgoldberg.org/projects/elgin-state-hospital/">danger of disappearing.</a></p><p>What threatens Prentice isn&#39;t decay - at least not yet. Rather,&nbsp;Northwestern University wants to tear it down in order to build a new, state-of-the-art biomedical research facility. Northwestern says the current building won&rsquo;t work as a research space. Meanwhile, preservationists (both <a href="http://www.preservationchicago.org/">local</a> and <a href="http://www.preservationnation.org/">national)</a> say it can be repurposed.</p><p>The fight over Prentice is years long at this point. But lately things have&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-16/business/ct-biz-0916-confidential-prentice-20120916_1_prentice-site-preservationists-bertrand-goldberg">ratcheted up</a>. Each side has commissioned studies, developed talking points, and hired politically connected public relations firms.&nbsp;</p><p>The latest move? This week Northwestern offered ... well, kind of a swap.</p><p>They&#39;ve said if they do tear down the building, they&#39;ll replace it with another architecturally significant structure. When I spoke with Ron Naylor,&nbsp;who works in Facilities Management at Northwestern, he promised a building &quot;the aesthetics of such that people are going to marvel at it.&quot;</p><p>So &ndash; how&rsquo;d the idea of an architectural swap play with the people who want to protect the building? Jonathan Fine, the executive director of Preservation Chicago, was blunt: &quot;They already have a world-class piece of architecture. It&rsquo;s called the former Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital.&quot;</p><p>Like others in the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Prentice/146981851986833">Save Prentice Coalition</a>, he thinks Goldberg&rsquo;s building can&rsquo;t be replaced. &nbsp;&quot;This is truly a unique building,&quot; insists Fine. &quot;It cannot be mistaken for any other building on the planet. That&rsquo;s how important this building is, and it should be saved.&quot;</p><p>When I asked Naylor whether he thought Prentice was irreplaceable, he laughed, then added, &quot;You could say that about a lot of buildings.&quot;</p><p>He says Northwestern will hold a design competition for a new building, and he&#39;s confident they&#39;ll find a successor to the Goldberg structure.&nbsp;He says the university did that for their forthcoming <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/09/architecture-competition-prentice.html">School of Music and Kellogg Management buildings</a>, and those contests resulted in good architecture.</p><p>Fine counters that in Chicago, new construction has rarely measured up to what came before.</p><p>&quot;If you look at the replacement for the Stock Exchange it&rsquo;s a mediocre, terrible building,&quot; he said. &quot;If you look at what replaced the Garrick Theater, another Adler and Sullivan masterpiece, it was a parking garage.&quot;</p><p>The one point on which both sides might agree, is that whatever building ends up near the corner of Huron and McClurg, people will notice. Says Naylor&nbsp;&quot;It&rsquo;s a significant building for the university, for the Streeterville community and the city of Chicago.&quot;</p><p>So &ndash; what about Chicagoans?&nbsp; Do they think Goldberg&rsquo;s building could be swapped out? Arts intern Rebecca Kruth took to the streets around Prentice and found a mix of views.</p><p>Jenna Duffecy was with a group of friends. She described Prentice as a &quot;comic book mental hospital.&quot;&nbsp;Duffecy thinks a new structure would &quot;fit in better with the look down here,&quot; adding &quot;Northwestern usually presents as a fairly classy institution, and I appreciate the more modern buildings they usually have.&quot;</p><p>But Katherine Bookout sees value in Goldberg&rsquo;s iconoclastic design:</p><p>&quot;I mean Northwestern University has a beautiful campus but the other building is different,&quot; she said. &quot;And different is good. There are things in Chicago that aren&rsquo;t Northwestern and that&rsquo;s a positive thing.&quot;</p><p>So what will happen to Prentice? All eyes on are on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, which could prevent immediate demolition by ruling to grant the old hospital preliminary landmark status.</p><p>Though the commission has yet to take up the issue, both sides hope it will be on the agenda at the next meeting, Oct. 4.</p></p> Fri, 21 Sep 2012 09:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-09/architectural-swap-meet-102583 Famous architects step in to save the Prentice building http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/famous-architects-step-save-prentice-building-101229 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS2508_Prentice Women&#039;s Hospital_Flickr_TheeErin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than 60 architects, educators and historic preservationists are betting their famous names might help prevent demolition of the old Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital.</p><p>Northwestern University owns the building and plans to tear it down for a research facility. Prominent architects, like Jeanne Gang and Frank Gehry, intervened on Wednesday and submitted a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>The architects called the clover-shaped building by Bertrand Goldberg a &ldquo;breakthrough in structural engineering&rdquo; and asked for landmark status.</p><p>Goldberg is a Chicago native who spent much of his career here and is best known for his Marina City towers. He studied under Mies van der Rohe at the Bauhaus in Berlin.</p><p>&ldquo;The legacy of Bertrand Goldberg&rsquo;s Prentice Women&rsquo;s Hospital is unmistakable,&rdquo; the letter says. &ldquo;Chicago&rsquo;s reputation as a nurturer of bold innovation and architecture will wither if the city cannot preserve its most important achievements.&rdquo;</p><p>But on Thursday, Northwestern said it has not changed its plans to demolish the building. A spokesperson said that it&rsquo;s &ldquo;unsuitable for the kind of modern biomedical research building the University needs to build on the site.&rdquo;</p><p>The university says a feasibility study showed the Prentice wouldn&rsquo;t be adequate as research space and would cost too much to convert.</p><p><strong><em>Listen to an extended excerpt from the interview with architect Dirk Lohan:</em></strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1343432055-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/DirkLohan%20MP3_0.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>One of the well-known architects who signed the letter asking for landmark status, Dirk Lohan, doesn&rsquo;t buy that argument.</p><p>He&rsquo;s the grandson of Mies van der Rohe. &nbsp;Lohan&rsquo;s legacy in Chicago involves the restructuring of classic old buildings like Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and his controversial addition to Soldier Field. &nbsp;He&rsquo;s a fan of Goldberg&rsquo;s building.</p><p>&ldquo;These are the kinds of things that I think our city needs to think about, to rejuvenate older buildings that may not meet their original functions exactly the way they were meant to be,&rdquo; Lohan said. &ldquo;And I have a hard time believing that another use cannot be found to work within that structure.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Goldberg&rsquo;s work was singular and idiosyncratic,&rdquo; Lohan said. &ldquo;He was a creative talent that worked in a way in contrast to the predominant modern direction that was popular at that time.&rdquo;</p><p>Lohan said Goldberg&rsquo;s distinctive use of cement helped him stand out during this period when many modernist architects, like van der Rohe, were working primarily with glass and steel.</p><p>The Prentice building&rsquo;s concrete shell has been likened to a cloverleaf or flower petals.</p><p>&ldquo;You could read all kinds of things in it,&rdquo; Lohan said. &ldquo;I think the building also has a very sinuous quality, and it was a women&rsquo;s hospital. So to me, it expresses something about women&rsquo;s bodies that I find attractive.&rdquo;</p><p>The National Trust for Historic Preservation has joined the fight. It added the Prentice to its list of most endangered buildings last year.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/famous-architects-step-save-prentice-building-101229