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CLOG Strawn+Sierralta invited to write about Betrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital for CLOG’s “Brutalism” issue. CLOG is a quarterly architecture . A defining architectural style of the postwar era, characterized by severe, abstract geometries and the use of cast concrete, block and brick, CLOG: Brutalism. Clog: Brutalism by Kyle May; Julia van de hout, eds and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at

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CLOG is a quarterly architecture journal available only in print format. Each issue explores, from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means, a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now.

CLOG BRUTALISM ARTBOOK | D.A.P. Catalog CLOG Books Exhibition Catalogues CLOG06

Succinctly, on paper, away from the distractions and imperatives of the screen. Judging by the work of many contemporary practitioners, however, the influence of Brutalism grutalism seems to grow.

Before the wrecking balls swing, it is time to look back on, debate, understand, xlog learn from Brutalism. The concrete, cloverleaf-shaped structure was designed by visionary architect Bertrand Goldberg.

Completed init was considered groundbreaking for its cutting-edge architecture and advanced engineering, as well as for what was a progressive design approach to organizing medical wards and services. It was recognized for its innovative floor-plate layout that eliminated the brutaliem for structural support columns.


A defining architectural style of the postwar era.

The curvaceous layout allowed for direct sight-lines and easy access between mother and healthcare provider at a time when a more “closed-door” approach was the norm. Today Prentice Women’s Hospital, in sound condition but in need of repair, is viewed with different opinions. It is considered an important icon for the city by some and an eyesore by others.

The building is owned by Northwestern University, who is dlog to tear it down to build a new state of the art medical facility. It was also an opportunity to generate conversation around Chicago’s mid-century modern heritage.

What buildings should be kept, and what buildings should be demolished? When is a structure too young to brutalixm protected or too old to be useful for new programatic needs?

This turned out to be one of the most successful competitions the CAC has ever held, receiving seventy-one entries brutxlism thirteen countries. The jury featured Chicago’s foremost architecture, preservationists and cultural leaders, who selected three winning entries and an honorable mention, all of which ultimately preserved Prentice, though through vastly different strategies.


The first place proposal by Cyril Marsollier and Wallo Villacorta, bisected Prentice with a glassy tower that served to reflect a complete image of the structure, while adding new space. This, like the three other selected designs, approached reutilizing Prentice through hybrid strategies that hint at new lcog of thinking about current historic preservation criteria.


The exhibit featured all entries to the competition, along with a proposal by Jeanne Gang, and ten up and coming Chicago architects that were invited to join the conversation by the CAC. The competition has served its purpose. It sparked public debate and brought forward many designs and ides from around the world. Unfortunately, the fate of the building remains in the hands of its owners.

Preservationists filed a lawsuit and the ckog was granted temporary landmark status. Recently, brhtalism landmark status has been denied, and the judge has allowed the preservationists to file an amended lawsuit in 30 days. Time is running out.