New life for a city landmark
Originally completed in 1914, the Cook County Hospital building is a designated Chicago Landmark and once stood as the symbolic heart of the Illinois Medical District healthcare community. Vacant for nearly two decades, the building had fallen into a severe state of disrepair and was threatened with demolition. Instead, SOM led a design-build collaboration for general contractor Walsh Construction, with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates and interior designers KOO, to carefully preserve, restore, and adapt the former hospital building to meet the changing needs of the neighborhood with a new hotel, food hall, medical offices, and community spaces.
Not only a monumental example of the neoclassical Beaux-Arts style, Cook County Hospital has an illustrious history. Many medical advances took place here, including the development of the first blood bank in the United States, and the hospital was long known as “Chicago’s Ellis Island” for its devoted treatment of poor communities and immigrants to the city.