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Visiting Rush University Medical Center, On Pleasant Terms

It was back in July when Curbed reported that Rush University Medical Center (1620 W. Harrison St.) was nearing completion. Last weekend, we were able to tour this icon-in-the-making and steep ourself in the aroma of the final product. Those entering the hospital are greeted by the Edward A. Brennan Entry Pavilion. Its centerpiece is a large glass tube that extends from ceiling to floor as if seeking to harness the flow of light rushing down from above.

In keeping with the modernist maxim "form follows function," architect Ralph Johnson of Perkins+Will came up with the building's dramatic, butterfly-shaped design to promote efficiency in the caregiving process. Patients can be located closer to work stations and hospital staff. In addition, the layout allows for brighter rooms with great city views, both of which improve a patient's well-being.

Patient rooms are generously-sized, not surprising given that patient input was sought in the design process. The decor lends them a homey feel. Amenities include: storage spaces, couches, no-fuss privacy shades, and bidirectional bathroom doors. Each room is laid out in precisely the same way to ensure that medical supplies and gasses are kept in the same locations. This speeds up response times and helps eliminate medical errors.

Rush has some other interesting features. Operating room quality air exists throughout the entire facility to minimize infections. The emergency department, one of the largest in the state, will be equipped to handle a bioterrorism attack. Showers stand at the ready should any victims need to be decontaminated. There's a Teddy Bear Clinic for kids. And robots known as "automated guided vehicles" (AGVs) will take laser-guided trips throughout the hospital to deliver meals, linens, and other supplies. Patients begin moving in the first week of January 2012.
·Perkins+Will's Rush Building Reaches 'Substantial Completion' [Curbed Chicago]
·Rush University Medical Center's new building is ready [Chicago Journal]
·New Rush hospital designed to treat infectious threats [Chicago Tribune]