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The former Prentice Women's Hospital

333 East Superior Street
Bertrand Goldberg -Bertrand Goldberg and Associates Architect
Actions you can take to help save Prentice!
Contact or write: 
42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly
325 West Huron Street, Suite 510
Chicago, IL 60654
312-642-4242 phone
312-642-0420 fax
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
121 N. LaSalle Street, 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602
Ron Naylor
Director Facilities Management at Northwestern University
633 Clark Street
Evanston, IL 60208
Send a letter the editor, or an email or blog to your favorite local or national publication. 
Watch the Prentice video and then send it to a friend:
Join the Save Prentice Facebook Page:
Most Recent Updates: On Wednesday June 15, 2011 Prentice was named as one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered buildings.  That action was facilitated by a co-authored application submitted by Preservation Chicago and Landmarks Illinois.  On June 2, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks had scheduled a hearing to determine if Prentice met the criteria to be designated a Landmark.  However, at the last minute, Northwestern requested that the matter be pulled from the agenda.  It is widely expected that the matter will be heard at the commission's July 7th meeting.  If that is the case, all eyes will be on how the 9 mayorally-appointed commissioners will vote.  Regardless of that outcome, whether Prentice will be preserved through the Chicago Landmarks Ordinance will ultimately be decided by the city council, which has sole authority to designate a building as a landmark. 
Blair Kamin, Tribune, Cityscapes: National Trust for Historic Preservation names old Prentice Women's Hospital to 11 'most
Curbed Chicago: Preservationists Put On Rally Caps, Show Support for Prentice 
CNN: Most endangered historic places named
NPR: All Things Considered: Places in Peril
New City: Hospital Emergency: The Save Prentice movement goes national
National Trust Video on Save Prentice Rally
The Suntimes: David Roeder writes on Prentice.
Prentice Rally on YOUTUBE

Other recent Updates:  In April of 2011, Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) brokered a 60-day delay in Northwestern University's plan to immediately apply for a demolition permit for Prentice, even though the building is not scheduled to be vacated until September.  On April 7, 2011 Landmarks Illinois joined Preservation Chicago by also listing Prentice as one of their Most Endangered buildings of 2011.  On April 22, Landmarks Illinois released its long-awaited reuse plan. 

Original Article:

Preservation Chicago first identified the threat to the former Prentice Women’s Hospital back in November of 2003 as its replacement facility was nearing completion. Named as one of the 7 Most Threatened Buildings of 2004 at the organization’s annual press conference, more than six years later the threat of demolition grows ever nearer.

Prentice Hospital is currently owned by Northwestern Memorial Hospital. However, in early 2011, the hospital is obligated to transfer ownership to Northwestern University, which plans to redevelop the entire parcel of land on which it sits for new research facilities, almost guaranteeing its demolition.

History, unfortunately, sets a foreboding precedent as Northwestern’s Medical District has witnessed astounding levels of demolition in recent years: Prentice’s next door neighbors, the Wesley and Pasavant Pavilions, have both been demolished as has the nearby Veteran’s Administration Lakeside hospital.

Bertrand Goldberg is one of Chicago’s most iconic, and iconoclastic, modern architects. Best known for his world-famous Marina City complex, many of Goldberg’s surviving works remain at best misunderstood, and at worst threatened with irreparable alterations or outright demolition, Prentice being just one.

Goldberg trained at Harvard, later spending time at the German Bauhaus under the direct tutelage of master architect – and later day Chicagoan – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Returning to Chicago, Goldberg set out to apply Miesian techniques and principles to his own designs. The results are wholly unique buildings that stand alone in their originality.

Insisting that the Miesian box was not the ideal solution to all architectural problems, and particularly those centered around human community, Goldberg developed a series of complex curvilinear geometries for his buildings.Chicago’s Prentice Hospital is perhaps the ultimate manifestation of these design objectives. Configured as two distinct volumes for two separate, but interdependent uses, the hospital contains a large, flexible, and adaptable Miesian space at its base, and a highly specialized tower above, intended for maternity functions. In a remarkable step forward from previous designs, Goldberg here balances the entire curvilinear tower above the base volume, its floors cantilevering daringly above. This drama allows the two forms to coexist harmoniously, without the oddly spaced columns of the bed tower intruding upon the regular space below.

Today, this important architectural icon is threatened. To that end, Preservation Chicago has embarked on an advocacy campaign in conjunction with Landmarks Illinois, The Midwest Office of the National Trust and The Chicago Chapter of DOCOMOMO. To learn more about Goldberg’s modern masterpiece and the efforts to preserve it, link to:


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