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Prentice Women’s Hospital

333 E. Superior St., Chicago
(Cook County)


May 14, 2014

Read this recap on the “Save Prentice” campaign by Chris Enck, a project manager with Klein and Hoffman, published by Docomomo US/Chicago-Midwest which reflects on the many events, efforts and ideas that were applied to the project, what lessons were learned from the campaign and how best to approach the next advocacy effort.



February 14, 2013


Today Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation moved to voluntarily dismiss their legal complaint in Cook County Circuit Court, signaling the end of our legal challenge against the City of Chicago and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks with regard to Prentice Women’s Hospital. At this time, we feel that the landmarks process has run its course.

Although the outcome was not what supporters of preserving Prentice for adaptive reuse had hoped, Landmarks Illinois believes that it pursued all options to find a solution and uphold the public process.


February 7, 2013


The Coalition to Save Prentice issued the following statement:
We are disappointed that the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted to again reject its unanimous preliminary landmark recommendation for Prentice. By the standard of Chicago’s Landmarks Ordinance, the Commission made its decision based on improper considerations in an improper forum.
Since the Commission last voted on Prentice, healthcare planning and design experts spent over 1,000 hours developing a multitude of practical reuse possibilities for Prentice. Each of these proposals meets Northwestern’s needs while delivering greater economic benefit–including an additional 1,560 jobs and $1.1 million in annual tax revenue. Today, the Commission regrettably turned a blind eye to real solutions for Chicago by ignoring the many viable options for reusing Prentice.
See Press Coverage for the latest news.

January 27, 2013

Prentice is headed to the Landmarks Commission again. The City is acknowledging that the Commission's November 1 meeting was deficient, but the upcoming meeting and proposed rejection of landmark recommendation for Prentice violate the Landmarks Ordinance. Click to read the full statement from the Save Prentice Coalition. See Press Coverage for latest news stories


January 11, 2013


Today, Judge Neil Cohen ruled to grant the City of Chicago’s motion to dismiss the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Landmarks Illinois lawsuit against the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and the City of Chicago because he had no legal standing to deny it. He gave the plaintiffs thirty additional days to appeal or reposition its case and continued the injunction until February 15.

The Save Prentice Coalition issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling by Judge Neil Cohen.

“We welcome the outcome of today’s hearing, which keeps in place a stay preventing harm to historic Prentice Women’s Hospital and provides an opportunity to amend our pleadings within 30 days. We appreciate the care with which Judge Cohen is considering this case.

“The City does not dispute that Prentice is architecturally worthy of landmark status. Indeed, the Landmarks Commission made a unanimous finding to that effect before rescinding the designation in a pre-orchestrated hearing. In court today, Judge Cohen called that process into question and noted that the public notice and swiftness of the proceedings were ‘arbitrary’ and ‘nontransparent.’ We agree.

“Despite Northwestern’s refusal to consider other options, a series of recent proposals shows that reusing Prentice would advance Chicago’s economy and its leadership in biomedical research. On January 3, a group of former City officials, experts and architects unveiled a series of reuse alternatives for Prentice. Reusing Prentice as a support facility for adjacent medical research would deliver significantly greater economic benefits than Northwestern’s current proposal – including an additional 600 temporary jobs, 980 permanent jobs and $1.1 million in annual tax revenues. These reuse alternatives and economic figures can be viewed and considered at saveprentice2013.wordpress.com.


November 15, 2012

At an emergency hearing in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday, November 15, Judge Neil Cohen entered a stay that restores the Commission on Chicago Landmarks’ preliminary landmark recommendation for historic Prentice Women’s Hospital and temporarily bars the city from issuing a demolition permit. The Commission unanimously voted two weeks ago to grant a preliminary landmark designation for Prentice and then--in an unprecedented move--rescinded that designation just two hours later at the same meeting based on a departmental report.

On November 15, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, joined by Landmarks Illinois, filed a lawsuit against the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and the City of Chicago. The suit argues that the Commission unlawfully rescinded the designation in violation of Chicago's Landmarks Ordinance by improperly weighing alleged economic arguments and by usurping the authority of City Council. Judge Cohen set the next court date for December 7 and made it clear that he wanted to see Prentice protected in the interim.


Lawsuit Press Release.pdf

November 1, 2012


The Commission on Chicago Landmarks (CCL) voted “yes” for a recommendation of preliminary landmark designation for Prentice Women’s Hospital, on November 1, 2012. Shortly after, the commission rescinded the vote and Prentice can now be demolished.

Over 100 Save Prentice supporters showed up at the commission meeting proudly wearing Save Prentice tees and buttons. They shared stories, expertise, and passion about Bertrand Goldberg and his iconic Prentice Women's Hospital. Many more followed the proceeding on Facebook and Twitter, helping spread the word about this important moment with likes, shares, and retweets.

With a unanimous 9-0 vote, the Commission recognized Prentice with preliminary designation. However, all but one Commissioner voted to overturn their landmark recommendation less than three hours later. We applaud Commissioner Christopher Reed for his dissenting vote, a true demonstration of courage and independence.

The Save Prentice Coalition is considering all options in response to yesterday's proceedings, and we will keep you updated on this page, our “Ten Most Endangered” Prentice page, Save Prentice Facebook, and on Twitter at @SavePrentice. Thanks again for all of your support.

For more, read Landmarks Illinois’ Advocacy Director Lisa DiChiera’s statement delivered at a November 1 press event with the Save Prentice Coalition, prior to the CCL meeting.


Prentice Women’s Hospital

333 E. Superior St., Chicago
(Cook County)


This Bertrand Goldberg-designed building has been vacant since September, 2011. Ownership has reverted from Northwestern Memorial Hospital to Northwestern University, which wants to demolish it and land bank the property until it can finance a new medical research facility. This concrete, clover leaf-shaped structure, which was built in 1975, is representative of Goldberg’s organic architectural designs and is highly adaptable for reuse due to an open floor-plate structural system. After Prentice was included on last year’s endangered list Landmarks Illinois commissioned studies of three possible reuses for the building. The University, however, has claimed none are feasible for its needs.

Prentice was considered groundbreaking for its cutting-edge architecture, advanced engineering and its progressive design approach to organizing medical departments and services. It received international press coverage and an award from Engineering News Record for its innovative tower and open floor-plate layout that eliminated the need for structural support columns. “You will not find the structural solution to Prentice, which is an exterior shell cantilevered off a core, anywhere else in the world” notes Geoffrey Goldberg, an architect and Bertrand Goldberg’s son. “Prentice was the only one in which this was achieved.”

When Northwestern Memorial Hospital first announced its plans to build a new Prentice Women’s Hospital preservation organizations immediately began voicing concern about the future of the Goldberg-designed building. Prentice was on Landmarks Illinois’ 2005-06 Chicagoland Watch List and this is its fourth listing on the statewide endangered list. Preservation Chicago has also included it on its Chicago 7 list for a second time this year. The National Trust for Historic Preservation placed it on its nationwide “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list. In 2010 the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency determined the building is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

In partnership with Preservation Chicago, DoCoMoMo (Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement), AIA Chicago, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a coalition has been formed to advocate for the preservation of this irreplaceable Modern building.


Public Pressure to Save Prentice Growing

The preservation of Prentice Hospital was a hot topic in the news on July 26 and July 27, 2012. Numerous articles in major print and radio media are covering the urging of Mayor Rahm Emanuel by the design community to save Prentice Hospital and are linked below.


On July 26 the Save Prentice Coalition issued a letter containing signatures from over 60 architects from Chicago and abroad urging Mayor Emanuel to provide protection for Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital. Since the fight to save Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, this is the largest outpouring of support from within the architecture community for saving an historic building. Such a letter is unprecedented.
On July 27, the Chicago Sun-Times endorsed the preservation of historic Prentice Hospital and urged that the building be placed back on the agenda of the Commission for Chicago Landmarks for its consideration of landmark designation.
The Chicago Tribune also published on July 27 an Op Ed co-authored by Landmarks Illinois’ own president Bonnie McDonald and Zurich Esposito, executive director of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago. Read the points made for why this unique design should be a Chicago landmark and our urging for a collaborative reuse effort.

On August 2, the Save Prentice Coalition delivered a professionally prepared landmark nomination for Prentice to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, but was told that the topic of Prentice would not be discussed, as the administration is still having discussions with all parties. Click here to read a summary of the meeting  and here to read the statement and here to review the nomination.


On September 6th at the Commission on Chicago Landmarks meeting, Chairman Rafael Leon announced that while discussion about Prentice would not be permitted that day, Prentice would be on the agenda of one of the upcoming fall meetings. In the meantime, the Save Prentice Coalition continues to collect signatures from leading architects in Chicago and the world, including eight Pritzker Prize winners, on a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel in support of landmarking Prentice. Over 80 Architects sign letter to the Mayor in support of Prentice.pdf.


What You Can Do


Write a letter to city officials in support of reuse of the building. Or, send an email message to Mayor Emanuel and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in support of landmarking Prentice and in support of finding a reuse for this irreplaceable building.



Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Office of the Mayor

City Hall
City of Chicago
121 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Chairman Rafael M. Leon
Commission on Chicago Landmarks

33 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 1600
Chicago IL, 60602

Alderman Brendan Reilly
Office of the 42nd Ward

325 W. Huron, Suite 510
Chicago IL, 60654
Ph 312.642.4242
Fax 312.642.0420

Join the Save Prentice Facebook page at SavePrentice.org.


Additional Links


Video: Watch A Piece Of Chicago's Architectural History Come Tumbling Down (Chicagoist, 2/3/15)

Video: Goodbye, Prentice Women's Hospital (Architect, 11/6/2013)

LI Press Statement Regarding Commission on Chicago Landmarks Hearing (November 1, 2012)

Prentice Women’s Hospital Reuse Study

“Save Prentice!” video

Watch WCIU “Chicago.Now” on Prentice preservation

Watch Chicago Debates: “RE-USE OR LOSE IT: Prentice and Chicago’s Modernist Architecture”

Listen to a June 29th lecture on LI’s Prentice Reuse Study

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places



National Trust for Historic Preservation Executive Summary of Prentice Hospital Landmark Nomination

Prentice Landmark Nomination

A journalism graduate student from Northwestern's Medill School, and her classmates, made a short film on the Prentice legacy and Northwestern’s demolition plans. Click Here to view the video.


Letters of Support


Over 80 Architects sign letter to the Mayor in support of Prentice

Architects’ Letter

American Institute of Architects Chicago

David De Long, Ph.D., architectural historian

docomomo International Committee

Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner

Helmut Jahn Statement

International Scientific Committee on the Analysis and Restoration of Structures of Architectural Heritage (ISCARSAH)

Jeanne Gang, Studio/Gang/Architects

Joseph P. Colaco, University of Houston

Krueck & Sexton Architects

Marjanovic Ruedi Ray authors Marina City Bertrand Goldberg's Urban Vision

Neil Levine, Harvard University

Recent Past Preservation Network

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Society of Architectural Historians

The Landmark Conservancy

Wright Way Society of Japan

Press Coverage


Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2013

Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2013

ArchitectureChicago Plus, February 14, 2013

Chicago Sun-Times, February 14, 2013

Medill Reports Chicago, February 12, 2013

Chicago Reader, February, 12, 2013

ArchitectureChicago Plus, February 7, 2013

WBEZ, February 7, 2013

DNIinfo Chicago, February 7, 2013

Crain’s Chicago Business, February 7, 2013

Reader, January 28, 2013

Chicago Tribune, January 27, 2013

ArchitecturePlus Chicago, January 27, 2013

Reader, January 18, 2013

Crain’s Chicago Business, January 11, 2013

WBEZ, January 11, 2013

Reader, January 11, 2013

ArchitecturePlus Chicago, January 11, 2013

DNAinfo Chicago, January 11, 2013

Chicago Tribune, January 11, 2013

WBEZ, January 4, 2013

Chicago Tribune, January 3, 2013

Chicago Sun-Times, January 3, 2013

DNAinfo Chicago, January 3, 2013

ArchitecturePlus Chicago, January 3, 2013

Chicago Tribune, December 7, 2012

Crain’s Chicago Business, December 6, 2012

WBEZ, December 6, 2012

Reader, December 5, 2012

NPR, November 25, 2012

Reader, November 20, 2012

WLS 890AM, November 15, 2012

WBEZ, November 15, 2012

Reader, November 15, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, November 15, 2012

Chicagoist, November 15, 2012

Chicago Tribune, November 15, 2012

Architectural Record, November 14, 2012

The Daily Northwestern, November 14, 2012

Reader, November 13, 2012

Chicagoist, November 2, 2012

Chicago Tribune, November 2, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, November 1, 2012

Skyline, November 1, 2012

DNAinfo.com Chicago, November 1, 2012

WTTW Chicago Tonight, October 24, 2012

Crain’s Chicago Business, October 18, 2012

Lee Bey WBEZ, October 19, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, October 18, 2012

Chicago Tribune, October 18, 2012

Architect’s Newspaper, October 17, 2012

Chicagoist, October 17, 2012

New York Times, October 17, 2012

ArchitectureChicago Plus, October 16, 2012

Chicago Tribune, September 30, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, September 27, 2012

Chicago Tribune, September 16, 2012

WGN News, September 24, 2012

WBEZ, September 21, 2012

Reader, September 10, 2012

Chicago Tribune, September 7, 2012

Time Out Chicago, September 5, 2012

Blouin Artinfo, September 5, 2012

Engineering News Record, September 5

Architect’s Newspaper, September 4, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, September 4, 2012

Chicago Tribune, September 4, 2012

Reader, August 31, 2012

ArchitectureChicago Plus, August 30, 2012

Crain's Chicago Business, August 27, 2012

Chicago Tribune, August 24, 2012

Chicago Tribune, August 22, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, August 22, 2012

Chicago Magazine, August 22, 2012

Reader, August 22, 2012

ArchitectureChicago Plus, August 21, 2012

ArchitectureChicago Plus, August 17, 2012

Crain’s Chicago Business, August 15, 2012

Reader, August 15, 2012

Vanity Fair, August 14, 2012

Chicago Tribune, August 12, 2012

WTTW Chicago Tonight, August 7, 2012

Architect, August 6, 2012

Crain’s Chicago Business, August 6, 2012

Architect, August 5, 2012

New York Times, August 3, 2012

Skyline, August 2, 2012

Chicago Tribune, Cityscapes, August 2, 2012

ArchitectureChicago Plus blog, August 2, 2012

Chicago Tribune, July 29, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, July 29, 2012

Time Tells, July 27, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, July 27, 2012

WTTW Chicago Tonight, July 26, 2012

Chicago Tribune, July 26, 2012

A|N Blog, July 26, 2012

WBEZ, July 26, 2012

TimeOut Chicago, July 26, 2012

ArchitectureChicago PLUS, April 24, 2012

Chicago Sun-Times, April 24, 2012

CBS Chicago, April 24, 2012

Crain's Chicago Business, April 24, 2012

ABC7 Chicago, April 24, 2012

FOX Chicago News, April 24, 2012

Chicago Tribune, April 24, 2012

Lee Bey WBEZ, April 24, 2012

Architect, August 8, 2011

Healthcare Communication News, July 26, 2011

Sun-Times, June 29, 2011

Chicago Sun-Times, May 29, 2011

Chicago Tribune, May 25, 2011

The Chicago Architecture Blog, May 25, 2011

Hello Beautiful, May 16, 2011

Architect’s Newspaper, April 20, 2011

New York Times, April 16, 2011

Skyline, April 13, 2011

Chicago Tribune, April 4, 2011

Chicago Tribune, March 26, 2011

Curbed Chicago, March 14, 2011

Architect’s Newspaper, March 3, 2011


CCL Photo 2  CCL Photo 3  CCL Photo 4  CCL Photo 5  CCL Photo 6  CCL Photo 7  CCL Photo 8





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