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Perkins+Will Gets Call for Northwestern Biomedical Design

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Northwestern University will build its state-of-the-art biomedical research center under the creative auspices of Chicago's own Perkins+Will, announced the Trib over the weekend. Northwestern spokesperson Alan Cubbage remarked that "the combination of the elegant design and the functionality of the floor plans were key [to the choice of architect]." But he also added that the design won't be finalized until the planning and permitting processes are complete. So the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) and sympathizers may yet see movement toward a more "iconic" product. Yeah, probably not.

The gradual destruction of Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital must resolve before phase one construction can begin: what constitutes the base for phase two, should Northwestern stick to their guns over a decade-long development span. Phase one has some of the elegance that Cubbage refers to, but little skyline presence. It alone will cost around $370M and take until 2018 or 2019 to finish. If both phases are built, new office and lab space will total 1.2M square feet. The muscular curvature of Perkins+Will's full design depends on the 45-story height being attained at some distant point. Lead architect Ralph Johnson thinks phase one alone, more of an undulating curtain, will be a credit to the city: "It will reinforce the idea of Superior Street," he said, "especially at the ground level."
·NU chooses architect for old Prentice hospital site [Trib]
·Perkins+Will: Biomedical Research Building Design Competition [NU]
·BREAKING: Northwestern Unveils Bids for Prentice Replacement [Curbed Chicago]
·Development Update: NU Biomed Facility [Curbed Chicago]