Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago

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Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

Chicago IL 10.13.2017

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Children's Memorial Hospital
Official name:The Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
Also known as:Children's Hospital of Chicago

225 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, Near North Side 60611
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Part of a rapid expansion of medical facilities in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, the new Children's Memorial Hospital gives the facility almost double the space of its Lincoln Park predecessor. But even though there will be a 40% increase in space, there will be only a 6% increase in the number of beds at the facility. Much of the rest of the space will be used for research facilities as well as making the existing beds much better.

Each of the 288 beds that this facility opens with will be in a private room with space for a parent to spend the night. Over time, additional beds can be added to bring the total number of beds in the rooms up to 313.

Building anything in Chicago is a challenge. Even a hospital. Even a hospital for children. Local groups opposed the hospital from the beginning. People who live in the area are already assailed by sirens day and night from ambulances rushing to the hospital complex, and fire trucks rushing away from the local station to the nearest emergency. Even though they chose to live in the busiest part of the city, are simply fed up with the noise. Their weapons of choice against the hospital were traffic problems and the safety of the rooftop helipad.

For months there was public and private debate over what agency had to approve the helipad and over the results of studies done and the credentials of those who did the studies. In the end, the hospital was approved but only after significant concessions were made. Among them, hospital staff are not allowed to park in the neighborhood. They must park at Grant Park garages and arrive at the hospital via shuttle bus.

At long last the hospital should be a welcome addition to the neighborhood if for no other reason than it replaces a vacant lot. Visually, the building is a glass block with grid pattens wrapping around the exterior. The top portion rests on a sky lobby and is cantilevered slightly over the alley to the east. The result is a hospital for children that looks inspired by the things children play with -- Legos, Erector sets, and other construction toys. The grid patten helps provide a visual link between the grid of the women's hospital to its east and the vertical stripes of the American Dental Association tower to its west.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Official stories above ground: 22
  • Missing stories: 13
  • Additional stories: 23
  • Height to roof: 385 feet
  • Height to helipad: 411 feet
  • Height to top of mechanical penthouse: 451 feet
  • Floor space: 1,250,000
  • Site size: 1.8 acres
  • Beds: 228, expandable to 313 beds
  • Rooftop garden: 13,039 square feet
Timeline
  • April 21, 2008: Groundbreaking
Notes
  • Architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP
  • Associate architect: Solomon Cordwell Buenz
  • Associate architect: Anderson Mikos Architects
  • Construction company: M.A. Mortenson
  • Construction company: Power Construction Company
  • This building was named for Ann and Robert Lurie after Ann donated $100 million to its construction.
Stacking Diagram
23: 
22: 
14-21: 
13: 
11-12: 
10: 
3-9: 
1-2: 
B1: 
Green Things
  • Recycle 50% of non-hazardous construction material
  • 10% of building material from recycled sources
  • 13,039 square foot green roof
  • Treatment for 90% of storm water runoff
  • Low-emission adhesives, sealants, paints, and carpet.
  • Standard glass-paper-plastic recycling
Controversy
  • Neighborhood residents tried to stop this hospital from being built. They were tired of ambulance noise and feared the additional noise from helicopters. They also complained about additional traffic in an already congested area. To appease them, the hospital added additional public parking, and promised to pay for more than a dozen traffic aides, along with new crosswalk countdown timers.
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Your Thoughts

There are three comments.

  Hey! Let go my Lego.... Once I realized how it was designed; I liked it and i believe that the kids and parents are going to love it too. Welcome to our neighborhood!Employee at NMH (Prentice Women's Hospital)

Felix rodriguez - Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 @ 5:14pm  

  Most hospitals are ugly but this one is a breath of fresh air.

Ron - Sunday, November 1st, 2009 @ 9:39am  

  Hmmm. Interesting. I can see what it's trying to do. Like a stack of wooden building blocks in a childrens bedroom. But made of steel and glass. It's fun, in a hickledy-pickledy kinda way.. But just misses really. Functional buildings ought to be functional looking buildings - with a little flair if you like to make them stand out. But this is trying TOO hard to be child inspired, and is a little ugly.

Russ - Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 @ 6:48pm