The renovation and reinvention of the old Cook County Hospital is a triumph of historic preservation, one that should resonate far beyond the walls of the beloved Beaux-Arts landmark on Chicago’s Near West Side.

Not only does it give new life to an ornate, more-is-more work of architecture that Cook County leaders, unconscionably, had in their demolition crosshairs 17 years ago.

It preserves a powerful symbol of compassionate care for the poor, serendipitously coming amid a pandemic that has seen doctors, nurses and other medical professionals battle heroically against the deadly coronavirus.

The project is the anchor of a much-needed, multiphase $1 billion redevelopment that promises to enliven Chicago’s vast but dull Illinois Medical District with new housing, offices and restaurants.

Credit: Chicago Tribune