Can a hospital’s physical structure be a part of its patients healing process? World-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly thinks so. As the man behind the new Center for Care and Discovery the 10-story, 1.2 million–square foot addition to the University of Chicago Medicine Center.
The Center is the first of six new buildings to be constructed collectively in five phases, ultimately resulting in a complex of over three million square feet of new medical space for the U of CMC. The goal was to create a design that enhances the adaptability and longevity of the building. For this project, Viñoly used “modules,” structurally sound architectural units of nearly 31 feet by 18 feet, which allow for flexibility should the technological and functional needs of the hospital change. In addition, the close proximity to the Gordon Center for Integrative Science and Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery is meant to allow for more efficient translation from research to treatment for patients with complicated conditions.
According to Everett Vokes, chairman of the Department of Medicine and physician-in-chief at the Medical Center, believes that the aesthetics of the building would help patients with recovery, “It’s beautiful, and it’s human, and it will participate in the healing process.”
Unlike other hospitals that prefer to not have visitors linger, the Center is designed to be family friendly and impersonal. The Sky Balcony, which looks out onto downtown and Lake Michigan, and the ground floor of the hospital will be open to the public, in order to foster connections with the community.