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Prentice Women's Hospital / Bertrand Goldberg

A Nocturnal Ode to Chicago’s Architectural Ghost

Date: 2010

Geography: Streeterville, Near North Side, Chicago, Illinois, USA

In the dark veil of the night, high above the heart of Chicago, an image is captured that brims with a haunting yet elegant beauty. It is a photograph taken atop the now-absent skeleton of the Prentice Women’s Hospital, a masterpiece of architect Bertrand Goldberg that once stood as a testament to both the past and future of design.

The scene is dominated by a rooftop hatch, thrown ajar, its metallic edges catching the glittering night lights and gleaming like a beacon in the darkness. Its presence conjures an air of mystery, an invitation to an unknown world, a portal from the tangible reality to the realm of the abstract.

In the distance, the iconic silhouette of the John Hancock Center pierces the indigo sky. Its twinkling windows are like countless stars embedded in a towering monolith, illuminating the night with their consistent and comforting presence. The structure stands as a silent sentinel, a testament to human ambition and achievement, its height dwarfing the surrounding cityscape. The vanished structure of the hospital, the open hatch, and the distant Hancock form a poignant juxtaposition. The image tells a tale of the cycle of existence, from creation to demolition, from the opening of doors to the closing of chapters. And in this cycle, the city - vibrant, unending, and resilient - persists, a constant in an ever-changing world.

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