Friday, February 20, 2015

Rush University Medical Center
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Rush University Medical Center (2009-2011) Perkins + Will, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

To provide top-notch health care in a world of ever changing technology and an aging and waistline growing population, the need for research grants and beneficent insurance coverage to pay for it all becomes a real challenge. So to stay competitive in a volatile marketplace, hospitals have to grow, expand, and build top-notch facilities to attract patients and dollars.

  [Rush University Medical Center, 1653 W. Congress Parkway, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The architects at Perkins + Will have provided Rush University, and Chicago, with a   dynamic new building, just one part of the medical organization's huge plan for transformation. Rush Medical College was given a charter by the Illinois legislature in 1837, and after several moves around town, settled into this Near West Side location in the mid-1870s. In 1884, working with the the city's Presbyterian churches, the college opened a teaching hospital in a brand new building the school constructed adjacent to their older, existing building. Back in those days most of the hospitals in the city were operated by orders of nuns affiliated with the Catholic church. Many non-Catholics were leery of caregivers who worked under the sign of the Roman cross, so in 1865 the Episcopalians opened their own hospital, as did the Jews. When the Episcopal-affiliated St. Luke's Hospital could no longer handle the crowds of Protestants needing medical attention, the Presbyterians saw an opening and hitched their wagon to the doctors at Rush.

  [Rush University Medical Center, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Eventually St. Luke's needed room to expand in order to stay in business, but they were hemmed-in by their south Michigan Avenue location. So in 1956 the 82-year-old institution merged with Presbyterian and the hospital became known as Presbyterian-St. Luke's, or Press-St. Luke's for short. Rush was out-of-business by that time, the school had been swallowed up by the University of Chicago, though in 1969 they re-emerged as Rush University and rejoined Presbyterian in the newly named, Rush-Presbyterian-St.Luke's.
The ever expanding medical complex started to grow big time in 1957, and added several more new structures in the late 80s and early 90s. With a another new name, in 2006 Rush University Medical Center embarked on a $1 billion plan to transform their medical campus once again. The cutting-edge, butterfly-shaped pavilion is one piece of a proposed re-shaping of the multi-block compound, which the university hopes to complete by 2015.

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