The Chicago Architectural Club announced the winners of its 2014 Chicago Prize Tuesday, awarding five honors to speculative proposals for Barack Obama’s Presidential Library. Peace signs, notions of community ownership, and even drones enlivened the conceptual debate swirling around a closely watched project already wrought with its own political complications. Organizers said during a public unveiling Tuesday evening at the Chicago Architecture Foundation that they had received 103 submissions. Entrants were asked to sketch up concepts for the library on a site at the confluence of the Chicago River—one which is already home to a 53-story tower by Goettsch Partners, currently under construction. When CAC announced the topic in November, several potential library sites for the actual library had already been identified. Their locations—in and around the University of Illinois Chicago and University of Chicago campuses—exacerbated frictions between public space advocates, community residents and local politicians who would later agree to commit acres of Washington Park to the library developers. “We felt that this debate did not take place in public,” said Martin Klaschen, CAC's co-president, obliquely addressing why the competition chose the subject it did. “It's a political step that we intended not to interfere with the discussions of the other sites, and basically brought one more site into the debate.” In 2012 the prize touched on another hot topic: the imminent demolition of Bertrand Goldberg's Prentice Women's Hospital. Despite the neutral site, winning proposals provoked debate on some political issues. One submission, Obama Drone Aviary from Craig Reschke and Ann Lui, earned a “dishonorable mention,” CAC officials joked, for its wry proposal to make Obama's the first drone-driven library in presidential history. Though it presented the concept with a straight-faced optimism, Klaschen said, the subject matter belies a critique of Obama's legacy as the face of a growing surveillance apparatus and military-industrial complex. (Lui has contributed work to AN.) Two winners were named: The design team of Zhu Wenyi, Fu Junsheng, and Liang Yiang for their ring-shaped library (seen at the top of this page) and museum crossing the Chicago River; and Aras Burak Sen for a spherical enclosure containing a “Bridge of Hope.” Honorable mentions went to two projects in addition to the drone aviary: Drew Cowdrey and Trey Kirk; and Dániel Palotai. Cowdrey and Kirk proposed “a mobile library” of portable galleries and collections that could be loaned for tours and community exhibitions, housed in a Miesian “crate” on the downtown site. “As the production of architectural narrative intervenes and conditions the visitor’s experience, we have chosen to liberate the archival core from its vernacular wrapper—recasting it as a naked and autonomous urban figure,” reads their proposal brief. Palotai's black-and-white proposal outlined an elegant series of spaces “between sky and ground” intended to speak of flexibility, personal interactions and community authorship of what could start as a series of blank canvases. SOM donated the prize money, a total of $3,250. The jurors were: Elva Rubio, Stanley Tigerman, Brian Lee of SOM, Andy Metter of Epstein, Geoffery Goldberg, and Dan Wheeler of Wheeler Kearns. Chicago Architectural Club has details, full proposal PDFs, and a video of the awards ceremony on their website.
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Old Prentice Women's Hospital—the cloverleaf-shaped Bertrand Goldberg building that Pritzker Prize winners petitioned to save—has been fully demolished. In a photo sent to The Chicago Architecture Blog, Dr. Robert L Vogelzang of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine documents the sight preservationists feared for years: an empty lot at 333 East Superior Street. Northwestern plans to build a 40-story tower for biomedical research there. The design by Perkins + Will features a wavy glass facade and connections through the Streeterville site. Its construction is expected to go in phases, although a firm schedule is not set. Construction could start next year and wrap up by 2018. Ald. Brendan Reilly's office will hold a public meeting to discuss the “proposed final design” Tuesday, September 30 in the Hughes Auditorium at 303 E. Superior St. Prentice may be no more, but the ultimately unsuccessful preservation battle to save it remains one of the city's most bitter in recent memory.
Perkins + Will’s beveled, glassy facade looks likely to replace to a modernist icon whose long battle for preservation ended earlier this year. Last month Northwestern Memorial Hospital released three finalist designs for its new biomedical research center, the successor to Bertrand Goldberg’s partially demolished Old Prentice Women's Hospital. Northwestern spokesperson Alan Cubbage told the Tribune, “the combination of the elegant design and the functionality of the floor plans were key.” Construction on the $370 million project could start as soon as 2015, finishing by late 2018 or early 2019. Eventually reaching 1.2 million square feet, the medical research facilities would be built over two phases of construction, culminating in a 45-story tower. The cost of phase two has not been determined and would be in addition to the $370 million first phase. Community group Streeterville Organization of Active Residents (SOAR) last month laid out their hopes for a more "iconic" building than those proposed in an open letter to those involved with the project. The other finalists were Goettsch Partners, working with Philadelphia-based Ballinger; and Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill Architecture, working with Boston’s Payette Architects.
Cook County Judge Neil Cohen swatted down Friday a lawsuit preservationists filed to save Prentice Women’s Hospital, but ordered an extension of the threatened Goldberg building’s stay of demolition for another month. Preservationists sued to overturn a decision by the Chicago Commission on Landmarks that ultimately denied protection for Prentice in November, asserting the commission violated its own rules of conduct by considering economic concerns over architectural merits. “The Supreme Court says I can't overturn decisions of legislative bodies based on their failures to follow procedure,” Judge Cohen said, offering the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States and Landmarks Illinois another month to amend their complaint. "We appreciate the care with which Judge Cohen is considering the case," read a statement from the Save Prentice coalition. The group unveiled Jan. 3 a series of proposals for preserving Prentice while meeting Northwestern University's development goals. Michael Rachlis, who is representing the preservation groups in court, said he will consider raising due process issues when the matter returns to court on Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.
On the heels of a surprising, if tenuous, victory in court, preservationists gathered Thursday evening at the Chicago Architecture Foundation to celebrate the opening of Reconsidering an Icon: Creative Conversations About Prentice Women’s Hospital, an exhibition that showcases re-use proposals for Bertrand Goldberg’s threatened icon. Some of the 71 ideas presented addressed Northwestern University’s stipulations for high-density wet-lab research space on the site, while some imagined other uses for the cloverleaf tower and its blocky podium. The winning proposal, by Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta, was entitled The Buildings are sleeping, you should go and wake them up, she says. Named for a Robert Montgomery quote, the proposal cleverly slices the existing Prentice in half, maintaining its characteristic symmetry in reflection. Bisecting an architectural icon is a radical proposal by preservation standards, but it essentially preserves the form while meeting Northwestern’s specifications. Superimpositions: Prentice as Additive Icon, by Noel Turgeon and Natalya Egon, took second place. Their subtly provocative suggestion was to stack new buildings atop Prentice, creating a “vertical timeline of icons” over time. If we raze our icons every 35 years, it seems to suggest, we should have no problem piling on a few more. The Superimpositions team was not so wry in their presentation, but other suggestions were outright sarcastic. A solicited entry from Tim Brown Architecture plainly laid out the four steps to achieving his Probable Prentice, which described Northwestern’s reasoning as intransigent, unreasonable, and culminating in a boxy, mediocre replacement. Other proposed uses ranged from The Hotel Bertrand to Out to Pasture, in which a hollowed out Prentice stores grain amid the pastures of a completely leveled Streeterville. Third place winners James Wild et al. brought some bucolic charm to their Bridging Prentice design, as well, adding a green roof to the existing podium and stretching it into an elevated park that runs eastward beneath a new 500,000-square-foot research facility. The Chicago Architectural Club, CAF and AIA Chicago cosponsored the competition, which serves as this year’s Chicago Prize Competition. The show will be on display in the Architecture Foundation’s Lecture Hall in the lobby of 224 S. Michigan Ave. through February 8, 2013. Check out more from the winners in the gallery below or flip through all 71 competition entries in the official flip book: