August 3, 2021
Back in the summer of 1957, Epstein began the planning for the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Illinois, which, at the time, was envisioned as a 6-story, 180-bed general hospital. Comprised of glass and steel, along with a 3-story administrative building, Gottlieb was designed to serve a number of Chicago's suburban communities, including Melrose Park, Bellwood, Schiller Park, Franklin Park, River Grove, Maywood, Hillside, Elmwood Park, River Forest and Oak Park.
The first phase of the hospital was completed in 1961 and was considered state-of-the-art. In fact, it subsequently was a recipient of the excellence in architectural design and planning award from the Modern Hospital Publishing Co.
Some of the amenities of Gottlieb included: air conditioning and heating by radiant ceiling panels; each room featured remote control television; an audio and visual nurses call system controlled at the beside as well as closed circuit television to allow nurses to monitor rooms in times of personnel shortages; and a pneumatic tube for drug and material delivery.
Interestingly, our design of the iconic entrance canopy created some stir within the medical community as being too "showy." Over time, however, this style was implemented on many hospital projects across the country.
Gottlieb also had some pretty unique Cold War-era features, including an atomic bomb shelter that, in theory, would shield patients and staff from fallout and radiation.
Gottlieb was named after David Gottlieb, the president of an amusement coin machine maker, and the individual who initially gifted $500,000 to fund the design of the hospital. The Gottlieb Hospital is still in operation, although, it has gone through a series of expansions and alterations masking much of Epstein's original design.