Some like it squat

I have long suspected our New Urbanist types of having a vertical bias: anything spread out horizontally, to them, smacks of the hated suburbs, and they’d cheer anything built on the old Stage Center site so long as it’s at least twenty stories.

Certainly short-ish and squat isn’t going to save the old Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago:

Prentice Women's Hospital building

A distinctive cloverleaf-shaped icon in Chicago, Prentice Women’s Hospital was designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg and opened to international acclaim in 1975. The hospital relocated in 2007, leaving the distinctive structure vacant. A strong coalition of preservation groups, architecture and design organizations, and internationally-recognized architects and engineers demonstrated several viable reuses for the groundbreaking Modernist treasure that made it the centerpiece of a cutting-edge Northwestern medical research facility. In spite of a unanimous vote of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks that Prentice met the criteria for a Chicago Landmark, the Commission ultimately sided with Northwestern University and cleared the way for demolition of one of Chicago’s most unique buildings.

Stage Center didn’t have “several viable reuses” proposed, and the wrecking ball is on its way. Will Prentice be saved? Not a chance. People want their tall, pointy stuff, and they’re going to get it.


  1. Tatyana »

    3 August 2013 · 3:07 pm

    It’s not so much “pointy” as “rectilinear”. Unless you prefer to sleep on circular bed and type at doughnut-shaped desk.

  2. hatless in hattiesburg »

    3 August 2013 · 6:15 pm

    of course “international acclaim in 1975” now means almost the opposite from what it did in 1975.

  3. Tatyana »

    4 August 2013 · 5:44 pm

    yes, the current opinion is brutal to brutalism

  4. nightfly »

    8 August 2013 · 1:21 pm

    It is certainly an ungainly structure… some enterprising filmmaker should film an alien prison escape there before it comes down.

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