STREETERVILLE — An iconic building that architecture preservationists unsuccessfully fought to save is starting to come down.
Crews began to demolish Prentice Women's Hospital Friday, excavating the building's foundation and first few floors.
In February, preservationists lost a battle to name the building, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, a landmark. Its owner, Northwestern University, argued the building had outlived its use. The university hopes to building a medical research center at the site at 333 E. Superior Street.
Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago, said not incorporating the building into a newer development was "short sighted."
"A lot of people say, 'We've got Marina City. Why do we need Prentice Women's Hospital?'" he said. "I don't think you can toss one away. You wouldn't toss a DaVinci painting away just because you have the Mona Lisa."
Goldberg also designed the Marina City towers.
Miller said despite the pending demolition, preservationists' efforst were "not in the least a futile battle. It [built] awareness...it was educational outreach."
The building was last occupied in 2011. In 2007, Northwestern opened a new Prentice Women's Hospital at 250 E. Superior.