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Competition to Design New Medical Research Facility

Leading architects invited to come up with inspired design for building on former Prentice site

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September 18, 2012 | by Storer H. Rowley

EVANSTON, Ill. --- To achieve an inspired design that Northwestern University, the city of Chicago and the neighborhood can be proud of, the University announced today that, pending approval to demolish the original Prentice Women’s Hospital building, it will conduct a design competition, starting in 2013, for a new biomedical research facility. 

Northwestern will invite many of the world’s best architectural firms with substantial accomplishments in designing biomedical research or similar buildings to submit expressions of interest and statements of qualifications to Northwestern’s Facilities Management office.

“With this competition process, Northwestern is committed to the design and construction of a world-class, iconic building for the expansion of our Chicago medical research facilties,” said Ron Nayler, associate vice president for Faciltites Management. “A similar process was used for selecting architects for new buildings for the Bienen School of Music, now under construction, and the Kellogg School of Management, now in design, on the Evanston campus.”

Following receipt of submitted materials, the University will select a number of firms to attend preliminary interviews. Based upon interviews and review of responses to a Request for Qualifications, Northwestern will select four to six firms for the final stage of the competition.

Competitors will be given programmatic information about the site, building size, phasing, components and other building needs to enable each firm to submit a preliminary schematic design to Northwestern. Required submissions for the competition will include a model and appropriate drawings, among other materials, and plans will be submitted to Northwestern senior management and the Educational Properties Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees. Each firm will receive a substantial sum of money for its efforts.

Narrowing the group down to a winner will involve a great deal of input from various stakeholders. All of the models will be put on display for faculty, staff, students and members of the public to view. A process will be put in place to record reactions that will be given to the University. Final due diligence on the firms will be conducted by the University. Several final firms, according to common practice, likely will be called back for additional presentations.

The final selection will be made by the Educational Properties Committee of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees. From the initial Request for Qualifications to the selection of the winning design, the selection could take 10 to 12 months.

Click here to see artist renderings of the new music building that was designed in a previous architectural competition.

Topics: Research