Bertrand Goldberg: In Color

For years Northwestern University has been trying to rid themselves of the Prentice Women’s Hospital, Bertrand Goldberg’s brutalist flower located on the university’s downtown Medical Campus. To say that Prentice presents a unique hospital configuration or that the legacy of brutalist icons such Marcel Breuer, Goldberg, or Paul Rudolph have weathered unfavorably is putting it mildly. Nonetheless, a litany of prominent architects and academics from across the country have written in support of the hospital. That the debate over the hospital’s future has been protracted over nearly a half-decade is telling not only of Goldberg’s idiosyncratic appeal, but the extent to which the legacies of Late- and Post-modernism stand to be judged on the all-or-nothing basis of the contemporary historic preservation model.

The case for Goldberg’s hospital rests on two points: First, that Goldberg is a seminal figure in the city’s architectural history whose production over four decades has be…