Bronzeville Lakefront

Bronzeville Lakefront
Bronzeville Lakefront
Bronzeville Lakefront

An expansive lakeshore site on Chicago's South Side will become a new center for healthcare innovation, through a master plan driven by equitable and inclusive community development.

Project Facts
  • Status Design In Progress
  • Size Site Area: 48 acres
  • Collaborators
    McLennan Design Engage Civil Incorporated Johnson & Lee, Ltd. Hood Design Spaceco Inc. Kenig, Lindgren, O'Hara, Aboona, Inc./Kloa Inc. Primera - Chicago Hr&A Advisors, Inc.
Project Facts
  • Status Design In Progress
  • Size Site Area: 48 acres
  • Collaborators
    McLennan Design Engage Civil Incorporated Johnson & Lee, Ltd. Hood Design Spaceco Inc. Kenig, Lindgren, O'Hara, Aboona, Inc./Kloa Inc. Primera - Chicago Hr&A Advisors, Inc.

A new nexus for healthcare innovation

Seizing an opportunity to further revitalize Chicago’s iconic lakefront and expand Chicago’s economic core, the Bronzeville Lakefront development will be constructed on the site of the former Michael Reese Medical Center, which closed its doors in 2008 after a 127-year run as one of Chicago’s top medical care centers. Like the historic Michael Reese hospital, Bronzeville Lakefront will be a first-in-class, inclusive center for healthcare innovation on this South Side site which spans more than 100 acres.

A new nexus for healthcare innovation

A new center for health sciences innovation

Sheba Medical Center’s Bronzeville Innovation Center is a 500,000-square-foot flexible facility that will connect science, technology and data to achieve a vision of transformative healthcare. Anticipating completion in early 2024, Bronzeville Innovation Center will anchor the first phase of development for the Bronzeville Lakefront master plan.

Bronzeville
© SOM

The Center’s cantilevered design allows half of the building to “float,” opening up the ground level to facilitate seamless movement across the site, preserve views, and provide a welcoming pedestrian experience at street level. The materials are inspired by Bronzeville’s surrounding architectural legacy, including buildings such as the First Church of Deliverance, with its warm colors and textures. Terraces on the east and west facades and expansive green roofs provide spaces for collaboration, relaxing, and socializing. A smart facade responds to the sun and ensures optimal daylighting and shading, while geothermal pumps offset the high-energy demands of operating a life-sciences building.

Building upon the legacy of the Michael Reese Hospital as a home to many “firsts” in medicine and healthcare, the Bronzeville Innovation Center will capitalize on access to local talent and its proximity to major research and medical institutions to establish a new hub for healthcare innovation. Sized and programmed to adapt and scale according to the evolving needs of the Bronzeville Lakefront community, the new innovation center will foster an environment where opportunities for health sciences, life sciences, biotech, technology, and sustainability innovation can thrive.

Bronzeville
© SOM

Foregrounding equitable and sustainable development

Driven by a philosophy of regeneration, from job growth to increasing access to open space, Bronzeville Lakefront will set new standards for equitable, sustainable development and healthy living. The site will be home to “living buildings” that connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community. All buildings will be designed with sustainability and regeneration in mind. Ample new green spaces will increase walkability and connectivity, manage stormwater, and improve tree coverage and air quality. By leveraging the native ecology of Chicago’s lakeshore, the master plan will create a vibrant, walkable, and livable community centered on sustainability, health, and wellbeing.

From the early stages of this project, we wanted this to be more than just a collection of buildings, but a place that has true resonance with the Bronzeville community. We worked together to develop a series of principles and core values focused around creating an equitable and holistic impact — prioritizing health, wellbeing, joy and community


Paying homage to local history

Bronzeville Lakefront will also be shaped by its diverse community and local context. In the early to mid-20th century, Bronzeville was known as the “Black Metropolis,” and it remains one of the nation’s most significant centers of African-American urban history. The neighborhood was a focal point for entrepreneurship, activism, and entertainment. Backed by inclusive placemaking strategies with community-based participation at its center, the Bronzeville Lakefront team has collaborated extensively with the community and its stakeholders to build upon this legacy for the next chapter of this historic site.

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