SOM designs plan to preserve and transform Chicago’s famous Cook County Hospital

Chicago-based architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is part of the team responsible for the $140m redevelopment of the city’s former Cook County Hospital, which has now been completed.

Brian Lee, SOM’s consulting design partner, said: "We didn’t just want to preserve the old Cook County Hospital – we wanted to bring it back to its former glory, from the facade to the original beaux-arts masonry detailing and terra cotta ornamentation."

The site, which was disused for around 20 years, will house a 210-room Hyatt hotel, food hall and medical office. There will also be community spaces, and a museum showcasing the historical highlights of the hospital since its 1914 founding – for example, hosting America’s first blood bank.

Adam Semel, SOM’s managing partner, said: "We’re proud to be part of starting a new chapter in Cook County Hospital’s history that provides multi-use spaces and amenities for medical workers, patients and their loved ones.

"The pandemic has emphasised to us the potential of adaptive-reuse, historic preservation and design-build in sustainably transforming the future of our communities."

The project is part of a larger $1bn redevelopment plan for the area, led by Murphy Development and Walsh Group.

The hospital was designed Paul Gerhardt, replacing an 1857 building.

Images courtesy of Dave Burk/SOM

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