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Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital (St. Mary’s Hospital)

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1973, Bertrand Goldberg Associates. 2323 N. Lake Dr.
  • (Photograph by Paul J. Jakubovich, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

This hospital features a six-story tower of undulating walls raised on piers over a two-story rectangular block. The building’s free-form, sculptural character illustrates the fluidity of design that is possible using poured concrete construction. The eye-catching tower’s flower petal ground plan, borrowed from Goldberg’s other hospital projects in Chicago and Tacoma, Washington, is one of the better-known modern structures in the city. Builders used poured concrete primarily for foundations, floors, paving, and industrial applications in the first half of the twentieth century, but after World War II, architects capitalized on the limitless and expressive design effects that concrete makes possible. In this building the curved walls allow more views of Lake Michigan for patient rooms than would be possible with rectangular structures of similar size. Goldberg worked with nursing staff to design the size of each floor’s nursing pods and patient-nurse ratios, and to incorporate efficient systems for food and linen delivery and trash disposal.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital (St. Mary’s Hospital)", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 145-146.

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