Michael Reese Modern

The Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center campus located along King Drive between 29th and 31st Street on the Near South Side offered a compelling vision of post-World War II optimism in the power of rational design. In 2008, it was announced that the medical center’s 130-year history would come to an end.  In anticipation of the 2016 Olympic bid, the city purchased the entire Michael Reese campus as the site of the Olympic Village and slated the entire 37 acres for demolition.  After an uproar by preservationists, the city promised to preserve only the orange-rated 1905 main building.  However, after Preservation Chicago had already identified the modern buildings worthy of preservation in January of 2009, research by Grahm Balkany revealed that Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, had designed or co-designed 8 additional buildings on the campus.

Update: In the fall of 2009, after a year-long battled that played out at scores of public meetings and was splashed across the editorial pages, the city began to demolished all but two of the historic buildings on the campus.  In the fall of 2010, after claiming that they could no longer “police” the old main building, the city approved a demolition contract for that building also.  To date, only the 1948 Singer Pavilion designed by Walter Gropius remains standing.

Download Original 2009 PDF