Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago

Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Columbus Park, Chicago

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Prentice Women's Hospital and Maternity Center

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What looks like another ultra-modern Near North Side condo building is actually a hospital building on the northern edge of Streeterville's medical campus.

The new Prentice Women's Hospital replaces the old Prentice Women's hospital, which also featured architecture that was considered cutting-edge for its day. But while the old hospital seemed warm and welcoming, even mimicking a pregnant woman's stomach, the new one seems cold and utilitarian to those not moneyed enough to warrant its services.

So what does a half-a-billion dollars buy? The Prentice Women's Hospital opened to rave reviews in 2007 for the level of care and attention it advertises to its potential patients. A media blitz that accompanied the grand opening made childbirth seem less like a medical procedure and more like a couple of days at a fancy health spa.

Patent rooms have huge flat screen televisions, 24-hour room service from a gourmet restaurant, soothing views of Lake Michigan, and more.

While welcoming on the inside, to pedestrians it has a very sterile appearance. This does not appear to be on purpose. The designers clad the lower portions of the building in earth-toned masonry, ensured there was plenty of walking space, and even left ample room for landscaping. But somehow it all seems so contrived -- an almost Disneyesque display of urbanity. For example, the landscaping is all perfectly mulched with the plants in little rows hemmed in by concrete barriers separating leafy green from the people. It's a small detail, but leaves one with a sense of "a place for everything, and everything in its place." The same can be said for the gleaming glass skin of this skyscraper. While that works well with the southern edge of Streterville, as the neighborhood blurs into the Gold Coast UV-coated bling becomes less attractive. Perhaps as this building ages and sags and becomes a little weathered it will seem less "do not touch."

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Floor space: 937,000 square feet
Timeline
  • 2003: Groundbreaking
  • October 20, 2007: This hospital opens to the public starting with a five-hour procession of 217 patients being wheeled in from the old hospital.
Notes
  • Architecture firm: OWP/P
  • Architecture firm: VOA
  • Architect: Chris Liakakos
  • Architect: Rebel Roberts
  • This hospital features 24-hour room service for its patients.
  • This hospital features a walking track for women who might or might not be in labor.
Green Things
  • This building has a rooftop garden.
  • This building has been awarded a LEED Silver Certification for "site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality."
Controversy
  • The original plan to have doctors' offices in this building with their patients was scrapped.
Rate This Skyscraper
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Your Thoughts

There are two comments.

  The hospital brings with it an attitude of renewal to this neighborhood...it is the beginning of a period of massive overhaul (New Children's, VA, etc..), and brings eclectic back to the NW campus. For those looking for warmth, take a walk through the building...the interior is incredible.

Nick - Monday, October 27th, 2008 @ 5:57pm  

  I think it's good to modernize Chicago, but still keep it's nice and warm feeling to it. Maybe, if you have the chance, repaint it so that it still has the same feel of the old hospital, so the patients don't feel like they're in a whole different place.

Griffin - Sunday, September 7th, 2008 @ 11:33am  

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