Located along a row of utilitarian high-rise buildings on a busy thoroughfare in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, one 23-story tower just east of Michigan Avenue stands out: its facade is a lively mix of color, light, and form. Curved glass encloses a ground-level lobby; a sky garden on an upper floor projects beyond the precast-concrete grid that composes the building's facade. Visually, it looks like a set of giant building blocks, piled high by a child'and with good reason.

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This is the $605 million Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, which opened last June on the Northwestern Memorial Hospital campus about a mile northeast of downtown Chicago. At 1.25 million square feet, the building is nearly twice as large as the hospital's former home on a crowded, block-long site in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The tower is the work of a three-firm architectural team: the Los Angeles office of ZGF Architects, which has an extensive medical-design background; high-rise specialists Solomon Cordwell Buenz of Chicago; and Anderson Mikos Architects, a firm based in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, that has worked with the hospital for almost 30 years.

The design team's plan artfully stacks the old hospital's multiplicity of functions on less than 2 acres. It also carries the facade's sense of whimsy indoors, where there are colorful gardens and themed floors'one with a custom Chicago Fire Department truck, complete with insignia, that kids can play in. Given that many of the patients are dealing with life-threatening illnesses or face complicated surgeries, these cheery, well-planned spaces and amenities make the hospital experience less foreboding for children and their families. 'They really wanted a facility for families,' explains ZGF principal Sue Ann Barton. 'This is important, because these kids can sometimes spend months in the hospital.'

Perhaps the signature example of this approach is the 5,000-square-foot sky garden, designed by Boston landscape architect Mikyoung Kim, on the hospital's 11th floor. The space, a glass box that cantilevers 7' feet beyond the main structure, features a sinuous landscape with seating and planted trees, a waterfall, and a small cafeteria. The hospital's Kids Advisory Board came up with the idea for the garden.

'The feedback we were getting from the Kids Advisory Board underscored the importance of having a place where patients could feel the sun,' says ZGF principal Stuart Baur. 'If they can't leave the hospital, they can, at least for one small period of time, get out of the building.'

The building accommodates 288 inpatient beds, a 45-bed ER, and a suite of operating rooms on the sixth and seventh floors connected by dedicated internal stairs. 'They had to be stacked vertically so that they work as one surgery department,' says architect Robert Schaefer of Anderson Mikos.

In addition, dedicated trauma elevators take emergency patients to an ER that's on the second level rather than the ground floor. 'So far, it has been going very, very well,' Barton says of the elevator setup. 'It allowed us to bring the patient from the ambulance to the trauma core of the ER. In the old hospital, you'd have to take them down the hall. It's faster than it used to be.'

Even the lobby is essentially split between two floors. The airy main floor has a maritime theme, with a boat-shaped caf' and a life-size replica of mother and calf whales hanging from the ceiling; the second floor acts as a main street, with a reception desk and connection to the neighboring Prentice Women's Hospital and a parking garage. 'This is like a city,' says Martin Wolf, a design principal at Solomon Cordwell Buenz whose vision helped shape the project.

Despite the building's size and complexity, the architects' thoughtful organization and playful geometry are sure to help take the sting out of hospital stays.



Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago



ZGF Architects LLP
515 S. Flower Street, Suite 3700
Los Angeles, California 90071
P: 213-617-1901
F: 213-617-0047

Solomon Cordwell Buenz
625 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois 60611
T: 312-896-1100
F: 312-896-1200

Anderson Mikos Architects, ltd.
1 Parkview Plaza 
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
P: 630-573-5149 
F: 630-573-5176

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

ZGF Architects LLPDoss Mabe, FAIA, Design Partner; Ted Hyman, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner in Charge; Stuart Baur, AIA, Project Manager; Sue Ann Barton, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, Medical Designer; Hugh Campbell, AIA, Medical Designer; Claudia Styrsky, AIA, Interior Designer

Solomon Cordwell Buenz: Martin Wolf, FAIA, Principal-in-Charge of Design; Mark Frisch, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Managing Principal; Brett Boaz, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Project Manager; David Swain, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Project Architect; Gene McDonald, AIA, Project Designer

Anderson Mikos Architects, ltd.: Dave Mikos, AIA, Firm Principal; Bob Schaefer, AIA, Senior Project Architect; Jack Martin, AIA, Senior Project Architect



M/e/p engineer - Affiliated Engineers Inc.
Structural engineer - Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Civil engineer - V3 Companies of Illinois Ltd.
Landscape architect - CYLA Design Associates, Inc.
Landscape artist (crown sky garden) - Mikyoung Kim Design
Graphics / signage - Mitchell Associates
Technology infrastructure - Lassen Associates
Medical equipment planning - Walsh Consulting Group
Food service - Rippe Consulting


Construction manager:

Mortenson-Power, Joint Venture
M. A. Mortenson Company
Power Construction Company LLC


Program manager:

Rise-Morgan, Joint Venture
The Rise Group, LLC
Morgan Construction Consultants



Nick Merrick, Hedrich Blessing Photographers / 312-491-1101 / Nick Merrick © Hedrich Blessing

Dave Burk, Hedrich Blessing Photographers / 312-491-1101 / Dave Burk © Hedrich Blessing

Pete Eckert, Eckert & Eckert Photography / 503-331-9165 / Pete Eckert © Eckert & Eckert


CAD system, project management, or other software used:

Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD, Autodesk Constructware, Vela Systems, Navisworks



1.25 million square feet


Total construction cost:

$605 million


Completion date:

June 2012




Structural system

Steel Frame w/ concrete slab on metal deck
Fabricators: Steel Frame: Zalk Josephs Fabricators, Llc.
Slab on Metal Deck: Gerdau Ameristeel, Chicago Decking Inc.


Exterior cladding

Metal Panels:  Morin Corporation, All American Exterior Solutions, Alpolic, Sobotec Ltd., Architectural Wall Systems

Metal/glass curtain wall:  Trainor Glass Company, Kawneer, and Okalux

Precast concrete:  Lombard Architectural Precast Products Co.

Moisture barrier:  W.R. Grace & Company

Curtain wall:  Kawneer, Trainor Glass Company, Tubelite Architectural Systems

Exterior Sheathing:  National Gypsum Comany



Built-up roofing: Hot Fluid-Applied Rubberized Asphalt Waterproofing – Henry Company

Elastomeric:  Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Roofing – Carlisle Syntec Incorporated



Metal frame:  Technical Glass Products (Tgp), Nissen & Company, Alliance Glass + Metal



Glass:  Viracon, Oldcastle Glass, Skyline Design, Rudy Art Glass Studio, Pilkington

Skylights:  Super Sky Products, Inc.

Insulated-panel or plastic glazing: Polycarbonate glazing – Palram



Automatic revolving doors – Besam

Metal doors:  Ceco

Wood doors:  Marshfield Door Systems, Inc.

Storefront:  Kawneer

Fire-control doors, security grilles:  The Cookson Company, Inc.

Special doors:
3HR rated bridge door – Mckeon
Rated horizontal sliding door - Won-Door

Up swinging doors, other:
Icu / Ccu Doors:  Horton Automatics



Exterior doors – Ives, Von Duprin
Interior – La Force Hardware & Manufacturing Co.

Closers:  LCN Closers

Actuators:  Exterior doors – LCN

Exit devices:  Schlage

Pulls:  Rockwood

Security devices:  Johnson Controls, Inc

Auto operators:  Horton Automatics

Other special hardware:
Casework Hardware:  Accuride, Doug Mockett & Company Inc., Hafele, Rockwood Manufacturing Company, Knape & Vogt, Blum, Grass America Inc., Bainbridge Manufacturing, Inc., Compx Timberline, Amerock


Interior finishes



Demountable partitions: Modernfold

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:  Midwest Woodwork & Veneering, Inc., Ameriscan Designs Inc., Imperial Woodworking Company, Central Wisconsin Woodworking Corp.

Paints and stains:  Benjamin Moore & Company, Sherwin Williams

Fabric, Vinyl, Linoleum and Custom Graphic Wall Covering: Knoll Textiles, Maharam, Omnova Solutions Inc., Walltalkers, Wolf Gordon, Mdc Wallcoberings, Forbo Linoleum, Inc.

Paneling:  Fabric Wrapped Panel:  Designtex, Luna Textiles, Carnegie, Gilford Corporation, Architex International, Maharam, Knoll Textiles

Plastic laminate:  Wilsonart International, Formica Corporation, Laminart, Pionite Decorative Laminates, Nevamar Decorative Surfaces, Abet Laminati, Liri, Chem Metal

Solid surfacing:  Silestone By Consentino, Formica Corporation, Avonite Surfaces, Dupont Corian, Wilsonart International

Special surfacing:  Resin Panels:  3-Form, Lumicor, Schneller Inc. - Veritas, Designtex

Floor and wall tile:
Rubber Floor Tile:  Prf Usa, Inc. – Activia (Ground Floor Lobby Elevators)

Vinyl Composition Tile:  Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Mannington Commercial (Corridors, Storage rooms, Break rooms, Staff Lounges, Exam Consultation Rooms, ECHO, PFT, Locker Rooms, Exam Rooms, Ultra-sound, Changing rooms, CT Scan, MRI, PET/CT

Wall Tile:  Dal-Tile (Public Restrooms, Commercial Kitchen, CAMP Suite), Pental Granite & Marble (CEO Bathroom), United States Ceramic Tile Company (Servery), American Olean (CAMP Suite Toilet Room)

Floor Tile:  Pental Granite & Marble (Public Restrooms, Public Elevator Lobby @ Levels 3-8 and 14-22, CEO bathroom), Dal-Tile (Patient Bathrooms), Crossville Inc. (Camp Suite), Rak Ceramics (Kitchen)

Resilient flooring: 
Cushion Flooring:  Gerflor Taraflex

Rubber Sheet Flooring: Gerflor Taraflex, Nora Rubber Flooring

Linoleum:  Forbo Linoleum, Inc.

Sheet Vinyl:  Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Teknoflor, Mannington Commercial, Allied Tile Manufacturing

Carpet:  Shaw Contract Group, Constantine, Atlas Carpet Mills, Inc., Tandus Design – C&A, Patcraft Designweave Commercial

Raised flooring: Tate Access Floors, Inc. (Data Center)

Special interior finishes unique to this project:
Plaster Wall Finish:  Nass Fresco Finishes (Public Lobbies, Levels 1,2,11 and 12)

Wood Flooring:  Teragren Commercial (Gift Shop)

Terrazzo Flooring:  John Caretti & Co. (Public Lobbies, Levels 1, 2 11 and 12)

Wood Ceiling:  Rulon Company (Chapel Ceiling)



Office furniture:  Allsteel

Reception furniture:  Lazy Boy Commercial, Weiland, Cumberland, Patrician

Fixed seating: Imperial Woodworking Company

Chairs:  Brandrud, Lazy Boy, Patrician, Allsteel, Gunlocke, Versteel, Izzy, Sandler, Paoli, Nemschoff, Spec, Fixtures Furniture, Gressco

Tables:  Allsteel, Versteel, Custom Boardroom Table – Tekwood, Cumberland

Upholstery:  Maharam, Knoll, Designtex, Arc Com, Sina Pearson, Cf Stinson, Bernhardt, Pallas, Momentum

Other furniture:  Gressco, Fixtures, Peter Peppernevers, Doug Mockett, Izzy



Interior ambient lighting:
Typical 2’ x 2’s and 2’ x 4’s in public corridors - Lightolier
Typical 2’ x 2’s and 2 x 4’s in ED exam rooms, PACU corridors, etc. - Focal Point
Linear slot at care team stations - Axis Lighting
Coves at care team stations, toilet room wall slots - Litecontrol
Typical recessed 2x4s in surgery suites - Kenall Lighting
Over mirror lighting in single toilet rooms - Alkco Lighting
LED sconces in patient rooms, LED pendants at great rooms - Winona Lighting
Custom pendants in Conference Center - Michael’s Lighting
Round surface fixtures at patient room “front porch” - Lightolier
Track lighting at Sky Garden – Lighting Services Inc.
LED Lighting at care team discovery boxes and at sky garden runnels uplighting marbles - Color Kinetics
LED lighting around base of Sky Garden planters - iLIGHT
Low voltage track at Servery -Tech Lighting

Down lights:
Typical - Lightolier
Downlights at loading dock - Esco And Cooper

Task lighting: Alkco Lighting

LED at feature windows and traffic island sculpture - Color Kinetics
LED outline of hand logo - GE
Downlights at soffits - Kirlin
Post tops at entry drive - Bega

Dimming System or other lighting controls: 
Lighting Controls: Leviton

Architectural Dimming System: E.T.C.



Elevators:  Otis Elevator Company, H & B Elevator

Escalators: Otis Elevator Company



Public lavatory faucets: Zurn

Patient lavatory faucets: Kohler

Lavatory sinks: Elkay

Kitchen sinks: Kohler

Scrub sinks: Elkay

Service sinks: Kohler

Emergency showers: Guardian Equipment

Emergency showerheads: Guardian Equipment

Emergency eye/face wash: Guardian Equipment

Water closet: Kingston

Toilets: Kohler

Urinals: Kohler

Low consumption closet flush valve: Zurn

Toilet Seats: Bemis

Mop sinks: Acorn Engineering Company

ADA shower base: Acorn Engineering Company

Bath tub: Kohler

Bath tub spout: Powers

Hand showers: Powers

Shower heads: Zurn

Water coolers: Elkay

Level 08 Psych - Metering faucets: Bradley

Level 12 Child Waiting Area

Specialty sink: Jsg Oceana

Specialty faucet: Toto

Specialty sink controls: Zurn



Energy management or building automation system: Johnson Controls, Inc.


Other unique products that contribute to sustainability

Green Roof:  Greengrid


Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project

Pneumatic Tube System:  Swisslog Translogic

Fire Alarm and Detection:  Johnson Controls, Inc., Ge Security

Security:  Software House, Hewlett Packard, Nisca, B-Line, Kele, Hid, Altronix, Bosch, Ge, Honeywell, Locknetics, Dsi, Belden, Aten, Onssi, Ergotron, Lg, Chief, Gefen, Panasonic, Transition Networks, Polyphaser, Pelco, Systimax, Andrew, Laird/Antenex, Rohn, Motorola, Proxiguard, Tripp Lite, Winsted,Louroe, Bud Industries, Morse Watchmans, Lantronix

Overhead page system:  Bogen, Protech Audio, Radio Design Labls, Rauland, Weidmueller, West Penn

Nurse Call:  Rauland, Mohawk, Republic Wire

Pre-Action Fire Suppression System:  Fike

Static Uninterruptible Power Supply:  Apc By Schneider Electic

Loading Dock Leveler:  Kelley

Building Maintenance Equipment:  Tractel Ltd. Swingstage

Food Service Equipment Vendor:  Stafford Smith, Inc.

Heliport:  Heliport Systems Inc.