Re-use plan for endangered former Prentice Hospital | WBEZ
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Preservation group proposes re-use plan for endangered former Prentice Hospital

The preservation group Landmarks Illinois today unveiled a 16-page plan that includes three different potential reuse scenarios for the former Prentice Women's Hospital, the distinctive Bertrand Goldberg-designed building currently under threat of demolition.

As an alternative to Northwestern University's plans to demolish the building and build a larger research facility on the site, Landmarks Illinois proposes the complex could be reused as either a research facility that could accommodate 60 labs and 800 researchers; a 200,000+ sq. ft. office building, or housing for students, nurses or residents. While the building's concrete quatrefoil towers would remain, the dark curtain wall of its base would be replaced with lighter, more translucent glass and crowned with a rooftop garden.

"We believe this study demonstrates how viable this landmark-quality building is for several types of new uses,” Landmarks Illinois president Jim Peters, said in a news release accompanying the document. "We also think that retention of the building—rather than demolition—would be a more sustainable approach to redevelopment, while also addressing the concerns of nearby residents about the growing ‘canyonization’ of the Streeterville neighborhood.”

The 36-year-old hospital, 333 E. Superior, is among the more prominent works of architect Goldberg, best known for his design of Marina City. The facility has been on relatively borrowed time since Northwestern Memorial Hospital completed its new Prentice Women's Hospital in 2007, which allowed ownership of the former hospital site to revert to Northwestern University. The university previously said it studied ways to reuse the facility but could not find a viable option and would raze the former hospital later this year.

Click here to the Landmarks Illinois study which was created with the assistance of three Chicago architecture firms who chose to remain anonymous.

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