Northwestern Memorial Hospital – Childcare Center and Parking Garage

Chicago, Illinois

Eckenhoff Saunders’ design of Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Bernice E. Lavin Early Childhood Education Center and parking facility references the architectural language of the health system’s Streeterville campus. The challenge was to design a parking structure for 1,100 cars with a childcare center for 320 children on a dense urban site in a high-end residential neighborhood. In addition, the facility serves as a one-stop location for staff, conveniently providing parking and childcare under one roof.

The one-acre site is bound on two sides by high-rise residential towers, while one-way streets on the other two sides provide ingress and egress locations to the garage. The most critical design challenge was the first level; where mandatory play area requirements, childcare entry and drop-off, and parking structure ingress/egress (pedestrian and auto) were orchestrated to maximize safety and provide security for children and staff arriving and leaving throughout the day.

The building was designed and constructed on a critical schedule and required to be completed before opening a new hospital. It was successfully occupied on time and built under budget. The childcare center received a Distinguished Building Award from AIA Chicago and is LEED Silver Certified.