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Steel Shots: World’s Tallest Children’s Hospital Opens Tomorrow
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM.


The new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago opens its doors tomorrow. At 23 stories, this structural steel high-rise is the tallest children’s hospital in the world. Photo: Tasha Weiss


The much-anticipated Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago opens tomorrow, June 9, after four years of development. The new 1.25 million-sq.-ft structural steel facility, located on 1.8 acres of Northwestern University’s downtown campus, replaces the well-known Children’s Memorial Hospital, located just north of downtown, that had served the area for more than a century.


chicago-childrens-hospital_sitn_bridge2.jpgThe new nearly $1 billion, 23-story hospital features 288 private rooms, state-of-the-art intensive care units and operating rooms and expanded trauma care capabilities. The building includes 9,400 tons of structural steel — and a pedestrian bridge connects the facility to the adjacent Prentice Women’s Hospital to help expedite care to critically ill newborns.


On the hospital’s northeast side, a 12-story cantilever starts at the 11th floor, which was a challenge to build. During construction, structural engineering firm Ruby & Associates designed a temporary multi-cable system to provide the needed support until the permanent vertical trusses, on floors 16 to 22, were installed.


This extraordinary structure is also the first healthcare facility of its size to be modeled entirely in 3D software. Every member of the project team, from the designer to subcontractor, used the digital model to communicate on this project, which could only have been accomplished with the entire project team’s collaboration and the use of structural steel.


Back in the fall of 2009, the Associated Steel Erectors (ASE) and AISC hosted a presentation and project site tour of the hospital during its construction stage. More than 150 engineering and design professionals and students learned about the building’s various challenges and solutions from members of the project team, and saw firsthand the latest design technologies and processes in steel construction for healthcare.


You can view photos and the actual presentations from the event, as well as download the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations, by visiting AISC’s Children’s Hospital Tour multimedia page.


To learn more about the building of the new hospital, visit

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