Watch this short documentary on the Prentice Women's Hospital preservation debate
The controversial demolition of the old Prentice Women's Hospital, designed by famed Marina City architect Bertrand Goldberg, commenced earlier this month after preservationists failed to secure landmark status for the structure at 250 East Superior Street. The building's owner, Northwestern University, plans to put a portion of a new $370 million biomedical research tower on the site.
Last year, Northwestern alum Nathan Eddy captured the debate over Goldberg's clover-shaped building in a short documentary, "The Absent Column," which is now available online after screenings at the Architecture and Design Film Festival New York, the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam and the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa.
The doc's balanced lineup of talking heads includes Paul Goldberger, architecture critic of Vanity Fair, who points out why the decision to destroy a piece of architecture like Prentice seems more meaningful when it's happening in this city. "Chicago, after all, is the nation's preeminent city of architecture," he says. "For Chicago to say that preservation of an important work of architecture doesn't matter—it's an unfortunate thing to have happen anywhere, but it's particularly shocking in Chicago."
The demolition of Goldberg's building is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. Northwestern is planning to begin construction on the research facility in early 2015.