Center for Care and Discovery, University of Chicago Medicine / Rafael Viñoly Architects

  • 15 Feb 2013
  • Healthcare Architecture Selected Works
© Tom Rossiter

Architects: Rafael Viñoly Architects
Location: South Maryland Avenue, , IL, USA
Consulting Architects: Cannon Design
Mep/Fp Engineers: Affiliated Engineers and Primera Engineers
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Area: 111484.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Tom Rossiter

© Tom Rossiter

From the architect. Rafael Viñoly Architects is proud to announce that the 10-story, 1.2 million-square-foot Center for Care and Discovery at the University of Chicago Medicine will open in February 2013. An architectural and technological tour de force, the Center for Care and Discovery (CCD) uses design to foster collaboration and interaction among doctors, researchers, clinicians and staff to continue world-class science and medicine while putting the patient at the center of care.

© Tom Rossiter

“It is a design for the future that allows rapid integration of new technologies for advanced care in a way that maintains the patient and family at the center,” said Jeffrey B. Matthews, MD, surgeon-in-chief and chairman of the Department of Surgery, University of Chicago Medicine.

© Tom Rossiter

Cannon Design served as Consulting Architect/Medical Facilities Planner on the project, with  Affiliated Engineers, Inc. and Primera Engineers, Ltd., serving asMEP/FP engineers; and Thornton Tomasetti serving as the structural engineer.

© Tom Rossiter

When the University of Chicago Medicine (then the University of Chicago Hospitals) issued a Request for Proposal for a new hospital, the aim was to expand an existing facility. Over the course of the preliminary design discussions, however, Rafael Viñoly Architects successfully proposed that the medical center view the project as an opportunity for construction that would meet the institution’s long-term needs.

© Tom Rossiter

The resulting building occupies not only the given site but also bridges across Maryland Avenue to a site to the west. This connection advances the hospital’s goal of maximum efficiency because it allows varying functions to be contiguous to one another and reduces the need for staff to travel between floors. The building was designed to accommodate continually changing medical technology and practices; in particular, the 18-foot (5.5-meter) floor-to-floor height and large 31.5-by-31.5-foot (9.6-by-9.6-meter) structural square grid, developed in collaboration with Cannon Design, allows for extraordinary level of flexibility for reconfiguring departments and upgrading equipment.

Sketch Courtesy of

The Center for Care and Discovery will focus both on providing a patient-centered experience and on using the latest technological innovations to improve health care.  Striving to provide comfort and convenience to patients and their families, the flexibility of the modular design also addresses the importance of evolving with advances in surgical, imaging and therapeutic technologies over time.  The design supports the delivery of high-tech care for complex illnesses, multi-organ transplants, robotic surgeries, cancer treatments and gastrointestinal diseases.

© Tom Rossiter

The focus on the patient can be experienced on multiple levels throughout the center.  All 240 private patient rooms can comfortably accommodate multiple family members. Privacy was a design priority in the patient rooms, as was expanding the visual connectivity between patients and nurses.  Waiting areas close to patient rooms and nursing stations are accessible from the main elevators.  These family waiting areas and lounges will provide communal space for visitors on patient floors. 

© Tom Rossiter

The Sky Lobby on the seventh floor houses central reception, family waiting areas, a chapel, a business center, cafeteria, conference center and other public spaces. As the heart of the hospital, this Sky Lobby effectively lifts the social, contemplative, outdoor space of a traditional campus quadrangle into the air. For families waiting for several hours, the grandness and uniqueness of the Sky Lobby allow visitors to find their own space and define their waiting experience. The Sky Lobby provides visitors with expansive views of the university, Washington Park, Lake Michigan, and the downtown Chicago skyline. Architecturally, the Sky Lobby also provides an important visual break in the vertical mass of the building, as the interior spaces on this level are recessed from the main exterior enclosure.

© Tom Rossiter

The Center for Care and Discovery’s design also supports retail and other commercial functions at the ground level, which enhances the streetscape and provides public amenities to passersby.

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Cite: "Center for Care and Discovery, University of Chicago Medicine / Rafael Viñoly Architects" 15 Feb 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=332783>
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