Rush University Medical Center by Perkins + Will Goes Gold

Healthcare, unlike other businesses, must always stay on the forefront of technology. Medicinal institutions cannot afford to fall behind, whether that be the practice, the procedures, the prescriptions, or the place, every attribute is a significant one when it comes to life-changing seconds.

In the 1830s a charter was granted by Illinois Legislature for a medical center in Chicago. It has since progressed and continued to grow, expand, been re-located and renamed multiple times until 2006 when it became Rush University Medical Center and introduced its $1 billion plan to transform the medical campus called the Campus Transformation Project.

Rush’s Inspiration

The first major attribute was the tower medical center that opened in January 2012 designed by Perkins + Will. It is the largest new construction health care facility in the world to receive LEED gold certification. Its shape takes form from a butterfly but it received high sustainable remarks in tons of other areas as well, including; green design, construction and operation. This is one piece of a multi-block compound which Rush aims to have completed by 2015.

It achieved Gold by a combination of energy use, lighting, water use, and material use, incorporating more than 100 energy saving designs.

In water conservation the Rush University Medical Center has incorporated:

  • Green roofs
  • Indigenous landscaping
  • The capturing of air condensation
  • Using sustainable products for housekeeping
  • Water saving faucets and dual flush toilets

The capturing of the air condensation is remarkable new technology that will allow Rush to water gardens and to run air conditioning systems. This practice alone is estimated to save a remarkable 1.3 million gallons of water per year.

In energy conservation the Rush University Medical Center has incorporated:

  • Efficient systems, including heating, cooling and lighting
  • White roofs
  • Butterfly-like shape
  • Recycling program

The addition of white roofs with green roofs helps reflect the sunlight, instead of traditional black roofs which absorb light and heat, requiring less cooling for the building.

Rush University Medical Center

The butterfly inspired shape allows more natural light to enter throughout the entire building.

In recycled materials the Rush University Medical Center has incorporated:

  • 20 percent recycled steel in construction
  • 20 percent wallboard and interior wall coverings from recycled materials
  • Recycled concrete
  • 70 percent wooden doors from certified sustainable forests

This butterfly inspired hospital building of Rush costs $654 million, is 14-storeys tall and 830,000 square feet.

The campus redevelopment project is about new construction, renovations of existing structures and investments in new technologies. This is the largest capital investment for Rush which is a non-profit academic medical center.

Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council stated,

“Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems, the Rush project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come.”

Another great attribute about this building’s design is that Rush’s doctors, nurses, patients and their families worked with the architects of Perkins + Will to design the butterfly tower medical center in the windy city.

This building showcases so many technologies and sustainable advances that there is no argument that it deserves this high Gold achievement.

Resources: Rush, News Wise, Design Slinger, WordPress and Perkins + Will


About the Author

Jennifer is originally from Colorado and has recently moved back from Michigan. She is finishing up her Master’s degree in Architecture. She is currently focusing on urban planning and sustainable design and hopes to gain employment at a design firm specializing in these areas. Jennifer also has writing experience serving as an editor for her school newspaper and college magazine. Jennifer has two cats named Prada and Dior-aptly named after her shoe obsession. You can follow Jennifer on twitter @jenshock81.