Rafael Viñoly and Cannon Design to design New Hospital Pavilion for the University of Chicago Hospitals

December 6, 2005

The University of Chicago Hospitals has engaged the architectural team of Rafael Viñoly Architects, of London and New York, and Cannon Design, of Grand Island, NY, to begin the process of conceptual design for a new hospital pavilion that will be devoted to complex specialty care, with a focus on cancer and advanced surgical programs.

Viñoly is a world-renowned architect who recently completed the University's new Graduate School of Business building in Hyde Park. Cannon Design brings national expertise in healthcare architecture.

This project, as currently conceived, could add approximately 500,000 square feet of space and increase the Hospitals' total clinical capacity by more than one-third.

The site under consideration is on the south side of 57th Street, between Cottage Grove and Drexel Avenues, adjacent to current UCH facilities.

The new building's design will place a premium on flexibility, the capacity to adjust to the rapid and unforeseen changes at the forefront of medicine in the 21st century.

The architects are developing an innovative building approach based on a grid system that is built up from a standard structural cube. This cube element could be configured over time for a very wide range of purposes, from inpatient beds to radiology suites to surgical operating rooms, without changing the basic frame of the building.

"Our thinking thus far has focused on how we could build a new hospital pavilion that could accommodate the rapid-fire, hard-to-predict changes that have swept through medical science and technology in the last three decades and that continue to gain speed," said Hospitals president and CEO Michael Riordan.

"At the same time," he added, "it has to be warm and inviting, a place of comfort and privacy for patients and families and a place of efficiency and precision for physicians and staff."

The number of admissions and outpatient encounters at the Hospitals, for example, is growing at about two percent each year, but the intensity and complexity of service per encounter is also increasing at about two to three percent per year. So, the total clinical activity and resources required (adjusted for intensity or complexity) is increasing by about five percent annually.

At the same time, complex care continues to shift from inpatient to outpatient settings as medical science and technology advances. In 1985, the Hospitals' patient activity was 85 percent inpatient and 15 percent outpatient. Today it is 60 percent inpatient and 40 percent outpatient. That trend toward outpatient care delivery--driven by newer technologies such as minimally invasive or robotic surgery, which eliminates large incisions and lengthy recovery times after even major operations--is likely to continue to shift at about one percentage point per year into the future.

"Our immediate goal," Riordan said, "will be to design a facility that is as innovative as the activity inside, a building so extraordinarily flexible that renovation, redeployment and reequipping of space can be accomplished economically and with minimal disruption to ongoing operations."

The planned pavilion would be in the rapidly expanding western edge of the campus, immediately south of 57th Street, adjacent to the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, which opened in 1996, and the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, which opened last February. It would be directly across Drexel Avenue from the Center for Integrative Science, a 430,000 square-foot, five-story building that brings together researchers from the biological and the physical sciences, which is already being occupied. On the corner opposite the pavilion, the University just broke ground in October for the Center for Biomedical Discovery, a 330,760 square-foot, ten-story building dedicated to medical and translational research.

If the pavilion concept, as developed over the coming months, is approved by the Hospitals and University Boards of Trustees, the Hospitals would proceed with detailed design work, followed by the governmental review and approval process. The Trustees would make a final decision on whether to proceed with construction in 2007. If approved, the facility could open as soon as 2011.

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Press Contact

John Easton
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john.easton@uchospitals.edu