Northwestern picks three teams to compete to design new research hub


Source: Creative Commons

Northwestern announced Friday it has picked three teams to come up with competing designs for its new biomedical research facility on the Chicago campus. The University expects to pick a winning submission by late fall.

Ciara McCarthy, Summer Reporter

Northwestern’s Board of Trustees has chosen three architectural teams to submit competing designs of the school’s new biomedical research facility on the Chicago campus, the University announced Friday.

The finalists are Perkins + Will of Chicago; Goettsch Partners of Chicago and Ballinger of Philadelphia; and Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture LLP of Chicago and Payette of Boston. Each team has a Chicago architect who will be involved with the design process.

University President Morton Schapiro called the beginning of the design contest a “critical step forward” in NU’s controversial plan to build the research hub at the former site of the Prentice Women’s Hospital.

“Construction of this new research building will bolster the University’s steady and significant progress on improving our infrastructure to do cutting-edge research, drawing the brightest talent to our campus and increasing the amount of research centers in the country,” Schapiro said in a news release.

The trustees will pick the final design, though models will be displayed for public input, according to the University. NU expects the winning submission to be selected by late fall.

NU’s demolition of Prentice has raised the ire of Chicago preservationists, some of whom formed a coalition to battle the University over whether Prentice should receive landmark status. The latest backlash came during NU’s commencement ceremony earlier this month, when a propeller plane flew over Ryan Field with a banner reading, “MORTY DON’T DEMO HISTORIC PRENTICE.”

(Anti-Prentice demolition message crashes commencement ceremony)

Despite the criticism, NU has earned the support of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who applauded the start of the design competition.

“I’m pleased that Northwestern is working directly with the community to ensure that its new facility is well-designed and integrates seamlessly into the fabric of the neighborhood and the surrounding community,” Emanuel said in the release.

— Ciara McCarthy