Shirley Ryan Ability Lab
Award of Merit

Owner: Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (Formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago)
Program Manager: Arcadis US Inc.
Lead Design Firm: HDR/Gensler
General Contractor: Power Construction Co.
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti Inc.
MEP Engineer: Environmental Systems Design Inc.

The 1.2-million-sq-ft Shirley Ryan Ability Lab is the world’s first translational research-rehabilitation hospital. Clinicians, scientists and technologists work together to help patients who have suffered traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Five innovation centers were designed to focus on areas of biomedical science with extraordinary promise. They include: brain innovation; spinal cord innovation; nerve, muscle and bone innovation; pediatric innovation; and cancer rehabilitation innovation.

Nestled into a narrow footprint in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, the $550-million building reinvents what its predecessor hospital and organization, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, did. It combines both a physical rehabilitation center with a laboratory for studying injuries.

“It’s a combination of flexible, adaptable spaces blended with delivery systems that are better for team performance,” says Gary Schreiber, vice president of Power Construction.

Midway through construction, the owner reevaluated the design of the ability lab spaces. Construction was deferred in those areas while they were redesigned, and work on other areas was expedited.

Arcadis and Power’s fast-track approach allowed turnover and occupancy of the spaces in sequence with the rest of the hospital. While the actual start and completion dates were later than planned, the overall construction phase was extended only by 6%, with no financial impacts to the owner.

Related Article: A Great Year for Midwestern Innovation