Well ladies and gentlemen, it seems as if it’s time to punch yet ANOTHER hole in the card for demolished modernist architecture buildings in the U.S. A few weeks ago, The PractitioNERD covered the demolition of Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama on the grounds of the Battle of Gettysburg by the National Park Service, and now the Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, IL will be meeting a similar fate. The hospital, erected in 1975, features truly innovative and awe-inspiring rounded concrete cantilevers that hover above a steel and glass base.
Things were looking up last November when Circuit Judge Neil Cohen’s made the decision to temporarily stay the building’s demolition, however this icon of Brutalist modern architecture finally had its days numbered, as a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of the city of Chicago, sticking a fork into the building’s fate, despite attempts to declare it a landmark. Frank Gehry and Jeanne Gang were among the sixty-some signatories of a letter to Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel, asking that the building be spared. In part, the letter said, “As members of the architecture community, we believe Goldberg’s Prentice should be given a permanent place in Chicago’s cityscape. A building this significant–this unique in the world–should be preserved and reused.”
The property will soon become an extension of Northwestern University’s medical center, according to a statement from NU and senior vice president for business and finance Eugene S. (let the…) Sunshine. According to the statement, the new structure is going to be “connected on a floor-by-floor basis with the existing University research building just to the west of the site,” and assures that the new buildings ”will bring researchers together and thereby enhance the chances of finding breakthroughs in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and neuro-degenerative disorders, among others.” At least the new building will be optimized for use and stay in the medical business. As of now, Northwestern intends to put a design competition together for international and Chicago-based firms to present proposals for the new biomedical research facility.