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Robert C. Robicsek, Higher Education Studio Leader, and Enrique Suarez, Managing Principal, Harley Ellis Devereaux

October 2, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Office of the Mayor

City of Chicago

121 North LaSalle Street
Chicago City Hall, 4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60602

RE: Prentice Women’s Hospital Re-Use Medical Research Tower

Dear Mayor Emanuel:

We are writing to express our support for the demolition of the original Prentice hospital in order to facilitate the construction of a much needed modern state-of-the-art research facility for Northwestern University.

As a leading national design firm specializing in higher education science and research projects, it is our opinion that the existing Prentice building is simply not conducive to repurposing into a state-of-the-art research facility. There are many limiting factors to the existing building including floor plan and footprint, rigid geometry, very low floor-to-floor height limitations, and structural limitations. These are not representative of the high ceiling, open, and flexible spatial parameters required in a modern research facility.

We respect the work of the well-known Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg, the designer of Prentice. The recent exhibit of his work at the Art Institute of Chicago drew international attention to our great city. However, there are many great surviving examples of Mr. Goldberg’s iconic works in Chicago as well as throughout the country. The demolition of Prentice would not damage the legacy of his architecture. However, this will enable Northwestern University to construct a new state-of-the-art biomedical research facility that would enhance the reputation of the city of Chicago, create near-term large-scale investment, and generate many high-tech jobs in the heart of the city.

In closing, we reiterate our support for the demolition of old Prentice and the creation of a new Northwestern biomedical research facility on the University’s Chicago campus.

Robert C. Robicsek, AIA, NCARB
Higher Education Studio Leader

Enrique Suarez, AIA, LEED AP
Managing Principal, Chicago

Harvey Ellis Devereaux