La Rabida Children’s Hospital -Outpatient

Chicago, Illinois / United States of America

Tracing its history to 1896, this LEED for Healthcare Certified Children's Hospital serves 7,500 patients annually, the majority from low-income families. The hospital treats children with complex/chronic medical conditions, and those suffering from abuse or trauma.

Located on a promontory point along Lake Michigan, on Park District land, a distinctive design was required to honor its unique site and to maximize visual and physical access to the Lake. A folded blue form extends the length of the site, sheltering the entrance and extending over the top of the existing building, embracing a glass box. The progression from entry level opens onto double height space, revealing sweeping views of the lake. A rain screen along the clerestory acts as a "front porch" for the outdoor/indoor play area. Great Lakes-based characters function as wayfinding guides, creating a sense of delight en route to four clinic "ponds."

A green roof supported responsible material use through recycling and repurposed materials. The hospital's 28% reduction in energy use was a key component of the original design concept. The age-appropriate and whimsical design was also driven by La Rabida's strong community identity, its location along Lake Michigan and its passion for the children they serve.

Architect of record

Percy Roberts
VOA Associates Incorporated
224 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60604, USA
Phone: 312-554-1400
Fax: 312-554-1412

General contractor

Dave Bodenschatz
KJWW Engineering Consultants
623 26th Avenue
Rock Island, IL 61201, USA
Phone: 309-788-0673
Fax: 309-786-5967


James Steinkamp
James Steinkamp Photography
923 Oakwood Terrace
Hinsdale, IL 60521, USA
Phone: 312-421-1233
Fax: 312-421-1241