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Holabird & Root

Holabird & Root
August 8, 2012

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Office of the Mayor
City of Chicago
121 North LaSalle Street
Chicago City Hall 4th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Dear Mayor Emanuel,

I am writing to you in support of the demolition of the original Prentice Hospital. I do this as an architect, a business owner, a Chicagoan, and a principal at one of the oldest architectural practices in the United States.

As an architect, I understand the emotional response to save buildings with unique qualities that are a part of an esteemed architect's legacy. However, there are many fine examples of Bertrand Goldberg's work in Chicago and several examples of his hospitals and research facilities around the country. These include Good Samaritan Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona; Providence Hospital, Mobile, Alabama; and the State University of New York in Stonybrook, as well as several others.

More importantly, I believe architecture needs to respond to its owners' needs. Northwestern has studied their future needs and options with careful consideration and has struggled to make this building viable in light of their present and future needs. At this time, Northwestern needs a new research facility and the unique nature of the Old Prentice floor plans, scale of the floors, and structure makes adaptation impossible. Modern research laboratories are best designed in a rectilinear fashion with high floor-to-floor heights to accommodate state-of-the-art technical requirements.

As a business owner, I support Northwestern's right to determine the best path for their future, especially because this debate can determine the future of private property rights. Their intended plan to build an entirely new state-of-the-art research facility is both commendable and necessary for the health of the University as well as the region. The new facility will attract and sustain the most notable researchers in the United States and offers Chicago unique worldwide recognition as practically no other building type could accomplish.

Northwestern is an institution that has served Chicago and its citizens well. If allowed to move forward, their new building will create further community investment, support one of this city's most worthy and responsible institutions, support the rights of responsible property owners who are doing positive things and ultimately, bring positive benefits to all the citizens of Chicago. I thank you for taking this letter into consideration as part of the ongoing debate.


Jeff Case, AIA
Principal, Holabird & Root