Latest Developments in the Fight over Prentice
It’s been a week of new developments in the fight over the fate of Prentice Women’s Hospital with both sides increasing pressure on the city to support their cause.
Last Thursday, August 30, five Pritzker Prize winners—Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron and Eduardo Souto de Moura—signed a letter to Rahm Emanuel urging the mayor to step in to save Prentice. The five joined a growing number of architects, preservationists and private citizens voicing concern over the building’s proposed demolition, considered by many to be an important and iconic design by the late Chicago modernist Bertrand Goldberg.
In what seemed like a counter move, Daniel S. Jones, president-elect of the Northwestern Alumni Association, sent an e-mail (also on August 30) to all NU alumni urging them to support Northwestern’s plans to demolish Prentice to make room for a new research center. Being an NU alumnus myself, I was not happy to receive the e-mail. Jones presented only the university’s position and neglected to articulate why there’s a movement to protect the building, calling Prentice’s potential landmark status “an obstacle.”
But it appears that not all Northwestern alumni agree with the university’s official stance. A recently formed group, NU Wildcats for Prentice, is fighting to preserve the building. The coalition of Northwestern alumni, students, faculty and staff, now has a presence on Facebook.
Today, the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks announced its agenda for September’s monthly meeting scheduled Thursday, 6. Unfortunately, Prentice Women’s Hospital is not on the agenda, despite repeated requests from the organizations fighting to designate the building an official landmark.
One can only guess what’s happening behind the scenes between Rahm, Northwestern officials, and the Landmarks commission members…