Aerial view of the new hospital tower at Rush University Medical Center, with downtown Chicago in the distance.
Viewed from the Rush University Medical Center campus, the curvilinear form of Perkins Will’s new hospital tower extends, in part, down to the base of the structure.
The façade of the lower floors of the building along the Eisenhower Expressway was conceived as a billboard, clad in a curtainwall from ASI. The patient tower is wrapped in metal panels from Sobital, with Viracon windows admitting daylight to perimeter patient rooms.
Separating the patient tower above from the diagnostic platform below is a recessed mechanical level which contains all of the utilities for the building. In the remaining exterior space on this level, green roofs serve as gardens for the staff. Inside the mechanical rooms, condensate is reclaimed for irrigation water as part of a strategy that has contributed to a LEED Gold rating.
Between the new medical center and the existing, adjacent structure, a new lobby volume is topped by a green roof plaza, which serves as an open-air pathway between the buildings.
The double-height lobby serves as a new public entry to Rush University Medical Center, and the green-roof-topped volume also connects the new hospital tower to the adjacent existing building. The focal point of the lobby is what architect Ralph Johnson terms “a reverse terrarium,” a glass-enclosed garden that brings greenery into the space without the possibility of plant-borne infection.
In the more orthogonal podium that makes up the first six floors of the building, view lines are maintained wherever possible to retain a connection to the outside.
Nurses stations anchor each arm of the building’s patient-room floors. Cove lighting from Philips is inscribed into the ceiling to echo the overall building form.