National Museum of Health and Medicine
Architect: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Client: The Buonacorsi Foundation
Location: Chicago, Illinois
When the National Museum of Health and Science decided to open a branch in Chicago, they envisioned a new museum paradigm, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture has given life to a concept modeled after the human body. “We’re trying to take a critical approach to museum experience as it currently stands,” principal Gordon Gill explains. “The building itself is an organism—it’s alive.”
Overlaying the original 1933 structure, a curving glass facade is able to display images, helping to engage an adjacent plaza and activate an alleyway on axis with nearby Grant Park. Inside, the lobby floor generates electricity as visitors pass through, and an auditorium immerses guests with custom-tailored projections on the walls, ceiling, and floor. Gill says the museum offers an experiential dialogue between structure and visitor.