The moment has arrived in which Chicagoans begin to resolve the debate over whether Northwestern University is truly concerned with building a worthy successor to Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Hospital. The three design finalists for a new biomedical research addition to the Feinberg School of Medicine aired today, and will be on continuous display at the Lurie Medical Research Center through Tuesday, Nov. 12. The finalists were named in advance and most locals are aware of each firm's sterling reputation and propensity for architectural curveballs. A common concern leading up to today's unveiling was whether or not Northwestern would encourage or even allow a built form that challenged the conventions of health care design. On the surface, it would appear those concerns have been validated. There's little that would qualify as provocative, gutsy, or risky in either proposal's contribution to the skyline. The two-phase approaches, beginning with roughly 600,000 square feet of mid-rise medical space with an eventual vertical buildout to 1.2M square feet, are glassy endeavors with chunky bases and heroic towers.
In the context of Northwestern Memorial's bland campus, they'll command attention, but true success may be restricted to fine grain details. Each proposal ticks off the boxes when it comes to programmed space (lobbies, laboratories, conference facilities), but there's pretty wide latitude in layout, materials, and the application of green design (and greenery). Take your time with these proposals, folks, there's a ton of slides to pore over. Northwestern's Board of Trustees will pick a winner by year's end, so pipe up with feedback pronto!
·Biomedical Research Building Design Competition [Northwestern U]
·Northwestern Awaiting RFQ Proposals for Prentice Replacement [Curbed Chicago]
·Short Doc Reminisces Over Prentice Preservation Saga [Curbed Chicago]
·Prentice Women's Hospital Coverage [Curbed Chicago]