Named one of the top 100 teaching hospitals in the United States, and faced with the prospect of losing patients to off-site imaging and diagnostic centers, Advocate Christ Medical Center recognized the need to offer its patients and staff a preeminent imaging center capable of bringing the hospital into the 21st century. The Imaging Center replaces the existing radiology department with a new facility that is one of the first fully integrated, digital, filmless imaging services operating in the Midwest.

The radiology department had to be moved to provide space for new equipment in a more efficient layout. As it existed, the radiology department was fragmented, laden with old equipment, and offered no room for in-house MRIs.

The Imaging Center is located on the first floor, below an existing second-floor mechanical room and third-floor surgery department, and above a ground-floor parking garage, central sterile department, and emergency generator room. This location posed several design challenges and offered the design team an intricately complex project site.

The selection of medical equipment provided another project twist. Although the design accommodates two direct radiography rooms, equipment for direct radiography was so new that the vendor had not engineered the drawings beyond beta development. The equipment was literally selected from the “showroom floor” at the Radiology Society of North America conference.

The first floor is 10 feet above grade, so designers located the new entrance at street level, with an elevator and convenience stair placed within the lobby. The design team took advantage of the existing elevation change to create a multistory, glass-enclosed, family-focused waiting space. This met the hospital's goal of creating a freestanding entrance while maintaining a direct connection with the hospital.


The large floor plate is divided into imaging “modalities” of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 square feet. Each of these has a front stage (patient side) and back stage (staff work) to support patient confidentiality and privacy. In addition, a separate image was created for each modality with the use of saturated accent colors, indirect lighting, and pattern.

As one of the largest imaging centers in Illinois, the new facility offers two MRIs, four CT scanners, two interventional procedure rooms, six ultrasound suites, three fluoroscopy areas, and five general radiographic rooms. Of the five radiographic rooms, three are for conventional computed radiography, and two are for direct radiography, which is the latest digital technology available on the market.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed June 2001)

Chief administrator: Carol Schneider, CEO, (708) 425-8000

Firm: HDR, (402) 399-1054

Design team: Mike Doiel, Principal-in-Charge; David R. Redemske, Project Designer; Marcia A. Vanhauer, Interior Designer; Ramesh Loharikar, Medical Planner; Karl Lust, Project Architect

Photography: Jeffrey Jacobs; Dave Redemske; Paul Schliesmann

Total building area (GSF): 60,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $204

Total cost (excluding land): $29,500,000