Monday, February 23, 2015

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago (2012) Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In a couple of weeks, when Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital leaves the neighborhood it has called home for 130 years and moves about a mile-and-a-half-south, it will have a new address, a new state-of-the-art building and a new name. The move will physically bring the hospital into the multi-block, Northwestern University Medical complex, an institution that Children's has been closely associated with for a number of years. Their new home is one of a number of healthcare facilities in the portfolio of architects at Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF), including Children's Hospital in LA. The $915 million, 23-story, structure will have twice as much space as the old facility and provide patients with 288 beds in private rooms. In addition, the architects have given both patients and visitors a special, dramatically spacial moment in a two-story "sky lobby," all wrapped-up in an environmentally LEED conscious building.

[Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, 225 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Children's started life as the Maurice Porter Memorial Hospital in a two-story house located at the corner of Belden and Halsted Street in the city's Lincoln Park/DePaul neighborhood in 1882. Julia Foster Porter was born in Chicago in 1846, one of three daughters of Dr. John Foster. In 1874, when Foster died after being thrown from his carriage, the three girls inherited a large portion of their father's estate which included some of the city's most productive, income producing property. Way back, when Chicago was no more than a few log cabins and a fort, Lt. Amos Foster (John's brother) was stationed at Fort Dearborn and purchased a number of recently plotted city lots in and around the intersection of Wabash, Randolph and Washington Streets, in what would eventually become Chicago's downtown Loop district. When the unmarried and childless Amos was shot and killed in 1835 by another soldier while stationed in Wisconsin, John was the beneficiary of those empty city lots, which became the bedrock of the Foster family fortune.

  [Lurie Children's Hospital /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

After her father's death, Julia, married to Episcopalian minister Edward Clark Porter pastor of a church in Racine Wisconsin, bought out her sisters share of the inheritance when they decided they weren't interested in real estate and wanted to sell. Edward and Julia Porter had two sons, Maurice and James, and after Maurice's death at the age of 13, soon followed by her husband's death of a ruptured appendix, Julia moved back to Chicago, and in 1882 purchased the Belden Avenue property and opened the city's only hospital devoted to children's care, in the name of her son. Soon after establishing the small hospital, she purchased a large, corner piece of property nearby and built a three-story brick building on Fullerton at Orchard Street. By the time of Julia's death in 1938 at the age of 90, the hospital campus had grown to include the triangle of land it sits on today, and the name Children's Memorial Hospital.
In 2007 the trustees announced that a new facility was needed, and instead of tearing down the jumble of buildings built in the 1920s and 1960s on their triangular plot and starting over, it would be better to move to a location closer to the top-notch facilities located in and around Northwestern. Ann Lurie who had once been a nurse at the hospital in the early 70's stepped in with a donation of $100 million. Lurie's husband Bob was real estate mogul Sam Zell's partner, and in 1988 Bob Lurie was diagnosed with colon cancer and died two years later. A widow with six children to raise, Ann made the decision to devote time and energy into overseeing the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Foundation, which has given away over $300 million to a variety of causes, including founding and funding children's care hospitals, the Africa Infectious Disease Village Clinics, in Kenya.

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