The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Prentice Women's Hospital Added to National Trust for Historic Preservation Endangered List

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 15, 2011 3:15PM

A coalition of groups, including Landmarks Illinois, Preservation Chicago and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are set to hold a press conference and rally in an hour to announce that historic Prentice Women's Hospital was named to the National Trust of Historic Preservation's "11 Most Endangered" buildings list.

Northwestern University has been trying to demolish the building for a while, but were persuaded to hold off on June 2 after asking the Commission of Chicago Landmarks to defer a hearing on preliminary landmark designation status for the building. Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin gives a brief history of old Prentice, which looks like a mini Marina Towers in Streeterville.

Completed in 1975 and located at 333 E. Superior St., old Prentice was designed by the late Bertrand Goldberg, the architect of Marina City's iconic corncob-shaped towers. It consists of a seven-story bed tower whose curving concrete walls sweep over the building's right-angled, steel-and-glass base. While some members of the public consider the building an eyesore, it is prized by architects and architectural historians for its structural daring and sculptural presence.

Old Prentice's bed tower, which housed a maternity center, has been vacant since 2007 when a new Prentice Women's Hospital opened nearby. The Stone Institute of Psychiatry is expected to move out of the building's base by late September, around the time the Art Institute of Chicago is scheduled to feature Goldberg and his work, including old Prentice, in a major exhibition.

The National Trust's Endangered buildings list holds no legal standing, but Kamin also notes that only 8 of the 233 sites it's listed over the years have been destroyed.