Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lurie Children's Hospital

Yesterday was moving day for the patients and staff of Lincoln Park’s Children’s Hospital.  Over a 14-hour period 126 patients were moved three miles to the brand new Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Streeterville. 

The first child, five-month-old Emiliano Ocampo-Vazquez, was moved at just about 6:00 a.m., and the final child to be transferred left the 130-year-old building at 7:50 p.m.  With the closing of the doors of Children’s Hospital at 8:00 p.m., a new era begins at the state-of-the-art 1.25 million square foot Lurie Children’s Hospital.

The 855 million dollar campus was financed in part by a 100 million dollar donation rom Ann and Robert H. Lurie.  The building, designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, a Portland, Oregon firm, will be right next door to Prentice Women’s Hospital and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  As one walks through the 23-story hospital, it is obvious that no detail was overlooked . . . and all of those details in the 288-bed facility combine to make the hospital as much a children’s museum as a medical center.

No parent ever wants to face the prospect of taking a sick kid to the hospital or of having to watch a newborn son or daughter clinging to life in a neo-natal nursery.  But at Lurie everything has been done to make that experience as light-filled and reassuring as is possible.  It’s an amazing place.

A few of us were fortunate enough to stroll around the building a little over a week ago, courtesy of a fellow Chicago Architecture Foundation docent, Bruce Komiske, who oversaw the construction of the amazing facility.  Here are a few pictures from the tour.

The above three photos show graphics that are included as part of the floor display at each bank
of elevators.  They are indicative of the mood in the whole facility, lightening the mood
for kids and adults alike.  (JWB, 2012)
Of course, the business for which the hospital was built is taken very seriously.  All private rooms,
even in the neonatal nursery, with much thought given to providing facilities that will allow'
parents to stay with their child.  (JWB, 2012)
You can't walk very far without coming upon some element that makes you smile and
want to become a kid again.  Cultural institutions all over the city took part in designing and
outfitting various floors in the hospital, and the effort shows throughout.  (JWB, 2012)
The 5,000 square foot Crown Sky Garden is one of the most amazing spaces in an incredibly
amazing hospital.  Designed by Mikyoung Kim, a landscape architect and artist who has taught at
the Rhode Island School of Design for the past 14 years, it will provide a tree-filled space with
room for both public and private activities.
Chicago firefighters provided a full-scale mock-up of the cab of a fire truck, complete with
Dalmatian dogs, on one of the floors.  The doors are open, firefighters' helmet are at the ready--
another way in which the hospital combines smiles with healing.  (JWB, 2012)
The Shedd Aquarium provided two blue whales that greet
all visitors entering the main lobby of the new hospital.  An
unsuspecting visitor might think he or she was in a museum and not a
children's hospital.  (JWB, 2012)
In one section of the hospital there is a mock-up of an Airstream trailer, in which children
may sit or play as they await preparation for surgery.  In 2002 Mrs. Ann Lurie, began traveling in a similar trailer throughout the 300,000 acre Mbirikani Group Ranch in Kenya.  With her she had a driver, a medical director, a nurse, and A laboratory technologist.  Trained as a nurse, Mrs. Lurie's journey evolved into a medical compound with a staff of more than 170 Kenyans.  Services are free of charge.  Mrs. Lurie and her husband, Robert, were principals donors in the campaign to build the new Children's Hospital in Chicago, pledging 100 million dollars toward the effort in 2007. (JWB, 2012)


Children’s day nursery said...

This is a uniquely designed children's hospital. It looks like an amusement park. I wish I had such hospitals when I was a kid.

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