An Architectural Marvel is up for trashing in Chicago…

I am deeply upset with my alma mater, Northwestern University, as they attempt to tear down a particularly special architectural classic from the 70s. This  preservation battle has been building for months in Chicago on the fate of the old Prentice Women’s Hospital, a concrete, cloverleaf structure from 1975 by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg.  Famous architects and designers like Frank Gehry, Jeanne Gang, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien have signed petitions entreating Northwestern, who owns the building, not to tear it down, pleading for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to give it landmark status.

The university says it needs new biomedical research facilities and that Prentice is too small, old and quirky to adapt. A new building would bring to the city millions of investment dollars, create jobs and save lives – that’s Northwestern’s argument.

So here is a suggestion: Build a research tower on top of Prentice. The architect Jeanne Gang has a proposal for a new research tower on top of the hospital:

Why save Prentice? There are  Chicagoans that hate it. Concrete buildings from the ’70s are becoming  unpopular outside architectural circles, although it’s spreading, and rightly so. Great late-Modernist buildings, innovative and ruggedly beautiful, deserve respect and careful custody. Prentice is a good example.

Architect Goldberg, who died in 1997, used a pioneering form of computer modeling to engineer a tour de force: an open, seven-story maternity ward inside the cloverleaf shell, cantilevered 45 feet from the supporting core.

Great buildings have often survived the wrecking ball by being added to, incorporated into larger structures or updated for a new era — in Rome and Istanbul, New York and Chicago.

 

 

About btchakir

Retired Theatre Producer, Graphic Designer, Usability Tester and General Troubleshooter with a keen interest in Politics and The Stage. Currently heard on WSHC, 89.7 FM (on line at www.897wshc.org) and occasionally dabbling in Community Theatre.

Posted on October 18, 2012, in Announcement, Art, Arts, Business, Corporations, creativity, Education, ethics, history, Legal, News, Opinion, petition, Politics, Warning, Word from Bill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on An Architectural Marvel is up for trashing in Chicago….

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