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The Fate of Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital

Re-use It or Lose It: 
Prentice and Chicago's Modernist Architecture 


Highlights from the June 14
Chicago Debate

Prentice Hospital 

Learn more about the debate on the preservation of Prentice:

"Chicago Landmarks Commission Sidelines Architects" in Architect from Aug. 8, 2011.
"When is a Landmark a Landmark?" in the Huffington Post from July 30, 2011.
"Architecture’s Ugly Ducklings May Not Get Time to Be Swans" in The New York Times April 7, 2012.
"Gehry, Gang and other leading architects urge Emanuel to save old Prentice Women's Hospital" in the Chicago Tribune from July 26, 2012.
"Debate over Chicago's Prentice hospital heats up" in the Chicago Tribune from Sept 4, 2012.
"Mayor Not Picking Sides in Prentice Hospital Showdown" in the Chicago Sun-Times from Sept. 25, 2012.
"A Vision to Avoid Demolition for a ’70s Pioneer" in the New York Times from Oct. 17, 2012.
"Emanuel Supports Prentice Hospital Tear-Down" in the Chicago Tribune from Oct. 30, 2012.
"Chicago Landmarks Commission clears demolition of the old Prentice Women's Hospital" in the WBEZ from Feb. 7, 2013.  

A full list of press coverage can be found here

Slideshow image


What does the success of the preservation movement tell us about ourselves?
Robert Bruegmann, Professor of Art History, Architecture,
and Urban Planning, University of Illinois - Chicago


Is landmarking a legal thing?
Jack Guthman, attorney, Shefsky & Froelich


Are modernist structures significant enough to save?
Jim Peters, President, Landmarks Illinois


Mary Brush, Preservation Specialist


Edward Lifson (moderator)
Cultural Critic and blogger


Over the recent years Chicagoans in both the public and private sectors have been engaged with passionate dialogue regarding the worth – and fate – of buildings designed by master modernist architects.  Walter Gropius’ Michael Reese Hospital being torn down for the Olympic Village.  Mies van der Rohe’s Test Cell being torn down for a Metra Station.  Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital torn down for a new research facility?  

Some say these buildings are worth saving and showcase our cultural heritage for generations to come.  Reuse it!
Others say these buildings are ugly, outdated, and insignificant.  Lose it!

In a city defined by its architecture, it is said that even taxi drivers know the difference between a Bertrand Goldberg and a Mies van der Rohe.  Many people however find it difficult to warm up to the aesthetics of a modernist buildings, with their materials of concrete, glass and steel, their form, and their seeming lack of applied ornamentation.  Did we ever care about these buildings before preservationists brought them to our attention?  In the name of progress, what does a property owner do when a building outlives its original purpose? 

Are these the “Louis Sullivan’s” of our generation?  Will we regret tearing these down?  Or will we be stuck with buildings that can no longer serve a function?  This is a timeless topic and one that will be asked for generations to come.  
Chicago Debates are lively, passionate, no-holds-barred, real, thoughtful, solution-oriented conversations with audience participation. We'll take your questions during the event, and you can also follow on Twitter #ChicagoDebates.  The voting - and commenting - continues on this web site before and after the debate.  It's your forum.
If you care about our city, be a part of the debate.  If you care about the quality of life here, be a part of the debate.  Chicago Debates.


Did you miss the debate? Listen to the full podcast of "Re-Use It or Lose It: Prentice and Chicago's Modernist Architecture."


   This project is also generously supported by the AIA Chicago Foundation.

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