When Chicago’s bid book for the 2016 Olympics was released a few weeks ago, the Walter Gropius-designed buildings in the Michael Reese Hospital complex were conspicuous by their absence. The assumption was that the modernist buildings by the Bauhaus director weren’t part of the Olympic plans and would therefore be razed.
Now it’s official: the Gropius buildings will be demolished. The fate of the Prairie-style original Reese Hospital building, completed in 1907, is still up in the air. The city has issued a Request for Qualifications to potential demolition contractors, and the RFQ includes ripping up the 1907 building as well as the 1940s Gropius buildings. However, the city claims that the RFQ shouldn’t be construed as a death warrant for the original building. City officials say they’re still exploring ways to save the main hospital building. Alas, the Gropius buildings are definitely slated for demolition.