Design Approved for the University of Chicago Medical Center’s New Hospital Pavilion

Rafael Viñoly Architects PC's design for the New Hospital Pavilion at the University of Chicago Medical Center has been approved by the school's Board of Trustees and its Medical Center Board of Directors. The project was originally awarded to the firm when the university responded to its suggestion that revised siting incorporating a new building would better position the medical center for future growth, bearing in mind its master plan.

The resulting design will partially occupy the university’s proposed site, but will also bridge Maryland Avenue to an additional site to the west, effectively doubling available program area. Various functions will be located contiguously, maximizing staff efficiency by reducing the need to circulate between floors.

Building sustainability was a consideration in the design, as well. Its infrastructure, with 18-foot floor heights and a sizeable square structural grid, was created to be flexible and adaptable. This allows for the future reconfiguration of departments to meet programming needs, as well as for equipment upgrades to keep pace with the constantly developing field of medical science.

A Sky Lobby on the seventh floor is the heart of the hospital. Interpreting the university’s existing campus quads, which foster a sense of community, it effectively elevates social, contemplative, outdoor space into the air, comprising central reception, family waiting areas, a chapel, and other public spaces. Its terrace provides visitors expansive views of the university, Washington Park, Lake Michigan, and the downtown Chicago skyline. Retail and amenity spaces at the building’s ground level enhance the streetscape, providing public benefits for all passersby.

Rafael Viñoly Architects’ project director for the building is Douglas Zalis, who also directed the firm’s Graduate School of Business project for the university, completed in 2004. Zalis is headquartered in the practice’s Chicago site office. Scheduled for groundbreaking in early 2009, the New Hospital Pavilion is expected to be completed at the end of 2011.

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