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-   -   CHCAGO | Thompson Center redevelopment | Jahn's MASTERPIECE will be saved!!!!!!!!!!! (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=249335)

Rocket49 Dec 28, 2021 12:57 AM

It's a pity they'll be removing the blue and pink panels.

The bright colors were eye-catching and jolted the senses a bit. A pleasant change from bland stainless steel.

r18tdi Dec 28, 2021 3:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dropdeaded209 (Post 9485741)
...

We had the world premiere in Chicago on December 1 as part of a retrospective of my work--Helmut's family was in attendance, giving me the chance to meet many of them for the first time.

Thank you for posting. I wanted to go to the screening at the Siskel Center but my schedule didn't allow it.

The Pimp Jan 4, 2022 1:20 PM

Terrible building! This was a terrible design for it's intended use. Just ask anyone who had to work in that building. Complete eyesore.

west-town-brad Jan 4, 2022 2:17 PM

went to get my drivers license renewed with my wife last week at the Thompson Center. standing in line my wife remarked: "wow this building has a lot of wasted space"

truer words

woodrow Jan 4, 2022 4:34 PM

^^yeah, lots of wasted space. We should tear it down. Also, the capitol building in Springfield!! TONS of wasted space. Should totally tear that down as well and build a more functional building. I mean, really, all the capitol buildings waste so much space. Also, Harold Washington has tons of wasted space. Ridiculous. And main branch of NYPL - sooooo much wasted space. In Manhattan! Get rid of it and have more functional space. Have you seeen how much wasted space there is at the Poetry Foundation. They should make it way more functional. Also, the Ford Foundation building in NY? Awful, so much wasted space.

ardecila Jan 4, 2022 4:41 PM

I mean, it does have a lot of wasted space. Half the basement is a giant auditorium that never gets used. There are numerous vacant retail spaces on the ground floor, lower level, and even the 2nd floor. Some of them are basically un-leasable because they have no visibility or they're hard to get to. Etc etc. I will happily defend the atrium and the building's open spaces but it definitely needs to be re-planned, repurposed and renovated.

Putting leasing into the hands of a private landlord will be better too... I know the state went out of their way to lease retail space to minority/Black owned small businesses which is good, but there has to be a mix, you need anchors to drive foot traffic. I imagine the state threw up all kinds of impossible standards and barriers to leasing and buildouts, as well (MBE contracting, prevailing wage, etc).

The Pimp Jan 4, 2022 8:11 PM

This renovation is nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. I thought this building was an eyesore when they opened it in 1985. It's a giant 1980's mall with government offices. Tear STARSHIP PLAZA down!.

west-town-brad Jan 4, 2022 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodrow (Post 9492690)
^^yeah, lots of wasted space. We should tear it down. Also, the capitol building in Springfield!! TONS of wasted space. Should totally tear that down as well and build a more functional building. I mean, really, all the capitol buildings waste so much space. Also, Harold Washington has tons of wasted space. Ridiculous. And main branch of NYPL - sooooo much wasted space. In Manhattan! Get rid of it and have more functional space. Have you seeen how much wasted space there is at the Poetry Foundation. They should make it way more functional. Also, the Ford Foundation building in NY? Awful, so much wasted space.

mildly hilarious comparisons

woodrow Jan 5, 2022 12:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by west-town-brad (Post 9493205)
mildly hilarious comparisons

Wasn't really meant to be. Part of the design program for the Thompson center was to evoke capitol buildings. The atrium was envisioned as a modern day version of a rotunda. My initial comparison is directly to that idea. They wanted a grand public space where the public would interact with the state. They most broke from the idea of a grand government edifice by including retail and restaurants, but that was to further that sense of a public space.

Whether one likes the design or not is a matter of preference and taste, but the idea that it wastes space ignores what Thompson and Jahn were going after.

VKChaz Jan 5, 2022 5:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9479524)
And also plenty of protests and civic actions. When you talk about "the public square", this is the closest physical translation of that in Chicago. All races and ethnicities are welcomed, all political persuasions, anyone can come and speak their piece. These spaces are especially important when most Americans see the world through the lens of Facebook and Twitter. Real life physical spaces don't have fake news or clickbait.

Making the atrium open-air may reduce the operating costs of the building and improve warm-season comfort for the office workers, but it will remove the enclosure that makes the Thompson Center such an effective year-round gathering space for Chicagoans. Now the atrium will just be another frigid plaza like Daley Plaza or Federal Plaza, which are fine spaces but mostly lifeless in winter.

I hope at the very least that Jahn will do the microclimate analysis and energy modeling that's always been promised, so the atrium can remain cool and ventilated in warmer months, otherwise it could be an unpleasant space year-round. All those plants will just increase humidity so good passive ventilation is key.

I hope there is some commitment to keeping the space available for that use. Chicago really could use more quality, multi-use gathering spaces and which are truly public, not just the 'privatized' public space that seems the norm

VKChaz Jan 5, 2022 6:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodrow (Post 9492690)
^^yeah, lots of wasted space. We should tear it down. Also, the capitol building in Springfield!! TONS of wasted space. Should totally tear that down as well and build a more functional building. I mean, really, all the capitol buildings waste so much space. Also, Harold Washington has tons of wasted space. Ridiculous. And main branch of NYPL - sooooo much wasted space. In Manhattan! Get rid of it and have more functional space. Have you seeen how much wasted space there is at the Poetry Foundation. They should make it way more functional. Also, the Ford Foundation building in NY? Awful, so much wasted space.

Grand indoor spaces used to seem more ubiquitous. As we have fewer of them or they are less publicly accessible, they may be better appreciated. Can't take for granted having grand office lobbies, soaring churches, train terminals, banks, hotels, theaters.... even the maligned indoor suburban mall could possess a kind of grandeur

r18tdi Jan 5, 2022 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodrow (Post 9492690)
^^yeah, lots of wasted space. We should tear it down. Also, the capitol building in Springfield!! TONS of wasted space. Should totally tear that down as well and build a more functional building. I mean, really, all the capitol buildings waste so much space. Also, Harold Washington has tons of wasted space. Ridiculous. And main branch of NYPL - sooooo much wasted space. In Manhattan! Get rid of it and have more functional space. Have you seeen how much wasted space there is at the Poetry Foundation. They should make it way more functional. Also, the Ford Foundation building in NY? Awful, so much wasted space.

Agreed 100 percent. Union Station is also a waste and should be made more functional.

https://preservationchicago.org/wp-c...21/10/1111.png

ardecila Jan 5, 2022 6:39 PM

I mean, Union Station was always supposed to be expanded vertically. It's looked awkward since 1925. Hopefully they build something eventually. I agree that the last Goettsch design from 2017 was awful (just a single mass) but a twin tower scheme like the above image would be nice. Obviously that curtain wall is totally wrong but you could definitely do a nice facade system with terracotta, limestone or copper...

k1052 Jan 5, 2022 6:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bcp (Post 9493909)
^^^ thank the lord that never happened....leave US alone, add height to surrounding parcels

It's always looked squat and that should be fixed...just not with anything that's been proposed yet. Either go conventional with something that will blend with the base or go nuts on something wild.

harryc Jan 5, 2022 7:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 9493974)
It's always looked squat and that should be fixed...just not with anything that's been proposed yet. Either go conventional with something that will blend with the base or go nuts on something wild.

The barbarians are at the gate (again ) just like the Thompson center US's big open spaces are part of the charm, part of a need that is filled.

Ornamentation that serves no purpose whatsoever.


What's this ? nothing there - just for show.


And look at all the wasted space - not even a few birds ( which the Thompson center does have )

Ned.B Jan 5, 2022 7:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9493943)
I mean, Union Station was always supposed to be expanded vertically. It's looked awkward since 1925. Hopefully they build something eventually. I agree that the last Goettsch design from 2017 was awful (just a single mass) but a twin tower scheme like the above image would be nice. Obviously that curtain wall is totally wrong but you could definitely do a nice facade system with terracotta, limestone or copper...

Quick correction: the last design that was panned in the public meetings and linked here was created by SCB. The last Goettsch design was never actually released to the public and the first Goettsch design shown above was nothing more than a napkin massing sketch for the developer proposal.

rivernorthlurker Jan 5, 2022 7:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ned.B (Post 9493988)
Quick correction: the last design that was panned in the public meetings and linked here was created by SCB. The last Goettsch design was never actually released to the public and the first Goettsch design shown above was nothing more than a napkin massing sketch for the developer proposal.

The problem with building on top now is that you'd be killing a lot of the sunlight from the recently restored skylight.

left of center Jan 5, 2022 7:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9493943)
I mean, Union Station was always supposed to be expanded vertically. It's looked awkward since 1925. Hopefully they build something eventually. I agree that the last Goettsch design from 2017 was awful (just a single mass) but a twin tower scheme like the above image would be nice. Obviously that curtain wall is totally wrong but you could definitely do a nice facade system with terracotta, limestone or copper...

If Union Station has an addition added on, it should be the original plan by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White.

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/p0JI...ation_Plan.jpg
Source: chicago.curbed.com

west-town-brad Jan 5, 2022 7:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by woodrow (Post 9493310)
Wasn't really meant to be. Part of the design program for the Thompson center was to evoke capitol buildings. The atrium was envisioned as a modern day version of a rotunda. My initial comparison is directly to that idea. They wanted a grand public space where the public would interact with the state. They most broke from the idea of a grand government edifice by including retail and restaurants, but that was to further that sense of a public space.

Whether one likes the design or not is a matter of preference and taste, but the idea that it wastes space ignores what Thompson and Jahn were going after.

that might have been the "design program" but they built a nasty 1980's office building instead and a poor one at that with a lot of grand wasted space. not all that surprising when you see how the state of IL generally spends it's tax revenues. sorry but I spent 10 years going into the building nearly every day and I can't say anything nice about it.

rgarri4 Jan 5, 2022 8:35 PM

Stewart Hicks recently made a nice video explaining its value, its ugliness, and the "indoor plaza" design of the interior.

Video Link

MAC123 Jan 5, 2022 8:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rgarri4 (Post 9494119)
Stewart Hicks recently made a nice video explaining its value, its ugliness, and the "indoor plaza" design of the interior.

Video Link

Love that guys stuff. Interesting video, glad to see the structure will continue to stand, even if it's changed in ways.

kolchak Jan 5, 2022 11:37 PM

I'm not a fan of removing the bold colors from the design. Its not how the building was intended to look. I usually detest when LED color changing lights are added to any already built structure but I hope that they will incorporate them here. Jahn's Sony Center style

aaron38 Jan 6, 2022 5:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 9478443)
It's a perfect example of what we preservationists call "the 40-year pox." After 40 years, every architectural movement and its exemplar buildings are viewed as hideously ugly.

After 60 years, people wail "why didn't they save and restore that incredible building?"

I’m now 45. I can’t think of a single building that was built in 1962 that I found ugly at 25 that I now find beautiful and cherished today. Still ugly, or I liked it then for its merits.
Reading through this thread, pro comments boil down to “Yes this is a unique mess that should never have been built, but it’s OUR unique mess and dammit we like it!
Alright. But I will never understand the love for this building. As an engineer I own up to my bad design choices.


Quote:

Originally Posted by woodrow (Post 9493310)
Part of the design program for the Thompson center was to evoke capitol buildings. The atrium was envisioned as a modern day version of a rotunda. My initial comparison is directly to that idea. They wanted a grand public space where the public would interact with the state. They most broke from the idea of a grand government edifice by including retail and restaurants, but that was to further that sense of a public space.

I disagree, it detracted from the public sense. A rotunda is not a mall, and a mall is not a rotunda. Retail space is not public. Can’t have protests and speeches behind an active counter. Have to pick one. And I don’t see anything in this rehab that addresses that fundamental flaw.

It’s the same flaw the Obama Library is repeating in Jackson Park. Planned single use is no longer public, no matter what the PR team says.

ardecila Jan 6, 2022 4:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 9494643)
I disagree, it detracted from the public sense. A rotunda is not a mall, and a mall is not a rotunda. Retail space is not public. Can’t have protests and speeches behind an active counter. Have to pick one. And I don’t see anything in this rehab that addresses that fundamental flaw.

It’s the same flaw the Obama Library is repeating in Jackson Park. Planned single use is no longer public, no matter what the PR team says.

Go to any well-used central square or piazza in Europe and the perimeter will be ringed with shops and restaurants, sometimes spilling out into sidewalk cafes. There's no reason civic purposes can't coexist with commerce. In fact, when you get the occasional single-use government plaza in an Euro city (often in a modernist complex) it feels weird and sterile without retail.

The reason a shopping mall in the suburbs can't be the same way is that it isn't publicly-owned. The landlord will allow whatever activities maximize their profits and they will ban whatever reduces their profits. It's their space, after all. Thompson Center is owned by the state, so its building managers are accountable to the public and they don't have the same profit motive.

It's not just "political" activities either per se - I have a vivid memory of a Black gospel choir performing in the Thompson Center for lunch crowds. Where else downtown would that ever happen? Thompson Center isn't explicitly a Black space, but it's definitely a place where Black people and Black culture are allowed in the door, along with that of Latinos and other minority groups.

woodrow Jan 6, 2022 5:25 PM

^^This 100%
It is a (post)modern agora. And it worked. I was frequently there, mainly for the post office and food court, but also to just look at the building and to see what was going on. It was always programmed with entertainment or art or educational presentations. There were always hundreds of people coming and going, to the DMV or another state department, the stores, the food court, or just to hang out. Tons of tourists as well. Mainly European or Asian.

After 911 it took a hit, in that they had to start blocking off the the areas around the elevators and over the past decade it seems like there has been less programmed and of course the crappy upkeep hasn't helped.

OhioGuy Jan 6, 2022 6:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kolchak (Post 9494372)
I'm not a fan of removing the bold colors from the design. Its not how the building was intended to look. I usually detest when LED color changing lights are added to any already built structure but I hope that they will incorporate them here. Jahn's Sony Center style

If in a few decades that generation begins to question why the original coloring was eliminated, they'll have the opportunity to change it back. The structure will still be there. Much easier to bring back the coloring than it would be to ever replicate this structure if it was torn down.

(admittedly I haven't been much of a fan of it and didn't care one way or the other if it was preserved or torn down)

aaron38 Jan 6, 2022 9:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9494968)
There's no reason civic purposes can't coexist with commerce.

I have a vivid memory of a Black gospel choir performing in the Thompson Center for lunch crowds. Where else downtown would that ever happen?.

Civic isn’t the same as government. And an open plaza is not a secured government building. Posts in this thread say the Thompson center is for citizens to interact with their government. That’s not what’s happening when people watch a gospel choir.

And for activities, with or without a permit? That matters when talking about free speech, public access and the consent of retail.
Is the Thompson center a capital rotunda to petition elected officials, or is it an entertainment plaza? I submit that it can’t be both.

Mr Downtown Jan 7, 2022 12:51 AM

^I think you're conflating two things: outdoor spaces where citizens can petition for redress and indoor spaces that symbolize the majesty and power of government. We don't have protest marches inside capitol rotundas; they're on the steps or adjacent grounds. Same here: picketers march around the Thompson Center's plaza, not its interior atrium.

The concept behind the Thompson Center was to open up government by integrating it with a space clearly welcoming to the public—even if they don't need a license or certificate or have a meeting that day. Thus the airy atrium, the post office and CTA entrance, and the three-level retail center. Alas, in 1980 we hadn't yet learned the lesson about indoor retail just not working in center cities, so the mall never succeeded at bringing people in, and then 9/11 (and a string of suicides) changed the way people were allowed to interact with the building.

rivernorthlurker Jan 7, 2022 7:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9494041)
If Union Station has an addition added on, it should be the original plan by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White.

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/p0JI...ation_Plan.jpg
Source: chicago.curbed.com

It would be amazing if they endeavored to 'restore' the original design as close to this historical plan as possible. It's nice to dream.

harryc Jan 23, 2022 6:40 PM

Jan 13

Click on image to enlarge


rivernorthlurker Feb 3, 2022 9:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by harryc (Post 9511623)
Jan 13

Click on image to enlarge


Let me just say these are amazing harryc - especially the B&W ones imo.

I remember the first time after moving to Chicago that I stumbled into the Thompson center. I was like holy s***, what is this place?? Do other people know that this exists??? Ha.

Hopefully it's now run the most dangerous part of it's preservation gauntlet and will now exist indefinitely. Unfortunately they aren't making Helumt Jahn designs anymore.

le_brew Feb 3, 2022 2:25 PM

No building, supertall or other, should be attached to this built like an outgrowth; that is very goofy looking. The adjacent property directly north, however would be a great development opportunity, once that transit building or whatever, is demolished. No architectural loss IMO… a bridge over the EL could also incorporate a revamped CTA station.

sentinel Feb 3, 2022 2:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MAC123 (Post 9494156)
Love that guys stuff. Interesting video, glad to see the structure will continue to stand, even if it's changed in ways.

I went to undergrad school with Stewart Hicks! :) Very intelligent and awesome guy.

Rizzo Feb 3, 2022 3:32 PM

The Stewart Hicks architecture video series are great. Really enjoy his content. Also those interior shots are amazing. I’ve said this before, that while I’m not a fan of the exterior, the interior always leaves me awestruck. I think the web of geometry absolutely reinforces the power of this space. It could never be feasibly recreated and I believe the renovation won’t lose any of that from what I can tell.

west-town-brad Feb 3, 2022 4:07 PM

the photos clearly show the hub of activity that this building is not

looks pretty though

sentinel Feb 3, 2022 4:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by west-town-brad (Post 9523695)
the photos clearly show the hub of activity that this building is not

looks pretty though

That's true, but it can be in the proper hands..

ardecila Feb 3, 2022 4:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by le_brew (Post 9523573)
No building, supertall or other, should be attached to this built like an outgrowth; that is very goofy looking. The adjacent property directly north, however would be a great development opportunity, once that transit building or whatever, is demolished. No architectural loss IMO… a bridge over the EL could also incorporate a revamped CTA station.

The Loop Transportation Center (aka 203 N LaSalle)? LOL. It's not a great looking building from the outside, but I do like the sequence of spaces going up to the Clark/Lake platforms. The 2-level retail arcade is a nice space, but it has challenges keeping tenants except for rental car agencies.

left of center Feb 3, 2022 4:57 PM

What's the deal with the 2 story building across Clark from 203 N LaSalle? I believe the address is 201 N Clark. If any property in the immediate area needs to be redeveloped, its definitely that one!

BruceP Feb 3, 2022 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9523748)
The Loop Transportation Center (aka 203 N LaSalle)? LOL. It's not a great looking building from the outside, but I do like the sequence of spaces going up to the Clark/Lake platforms. The 2-level retail arcade is a nice space, but it has challenges keeping tenants except for rental car agencies.

Ooops! Commented on the wrong building. Please ignore.

Rizzo Feb 4, 2022 4:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 9523790)
What's the deal with the 2 story building across Clark from 203 N LaSalle? I believe the address is 201 N Clark. If any property in the immediate area needs to be redeveloped, its definitely that one!

The ultimate plan is replacement. I do not know the status of this

http://www.th-partners.com/201nclark

le_brew Jun 7, 2022 8:52 PM

I anxiously check for updates on this; wasn’t it supposed to start this year? I’ve checked Jahn/ for new renderings, details, etc. Nothing to date.

ithakas Jun 7, 2022 10:07 PM

According to this thread a newsletter I read linked to the state just moved their offices out less than a month ago, so would probably hang tight for a bit:

https://twitter.com/anacaprana/statu...98808873488386

I'm guessing Jahn won't release any more renderings for a project this high-profile and meaningful to them until the time is right.

galleyfox Jun 29, 2022 5:46 AM

Ummm… what is this? I know Google has been buying real estate, but I was not exactly expecting the Thompson Center to be part of their portfolio.

Google in Talks To Buy Chicago’s Thompson Center
https://www.costar.com/article/56463...hompson-center



https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkel...h=6b6a4ffcd866

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2022/04/13/...22-mapped.html

Quote:

The plans, which also include expanding Google’s footprint in Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and Washington, D.C., will add at least 10,000 new full-time jobs, he indicated.
https://www.architecturaldigest.com/...realestate/amp

SIGSEGV Jun 29, 2022 6:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by galleyfox (Post 9662946)
Ummm… what is this? I know Google has been buying real estate, but I was not exactly expecting the Thompson Center to be part of their portfolio.

Google in Talks To Buy Chicago’s Thompson Center
https://www.costar.com/article/56463...hompson-center



https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkel...h=6b6a4ffcd866

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2022/04/13/...22-mapped.html


https://www.architecturaldigest.com/...realestate/amp

Knowing some Googlers, if this happens, I bet some would move into a pedway-connected building so they never have to go outside.

Randomguy34 Jun 29, 2022 6:25 AM

Well, the Thompson Center certainly has plenty of open floor plates

Handro Jun 29, 2022 12:59 PM

It would be a pretty sweet building for a tech company, especially since google has the $$ to do some wildly expensive renovations.

BuildThemTaller Jun 29, 2022 1:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by galleyfox (Post 9662946)
Ummm… what is this? I know Google has been buying real estate, but I was not exactly expecting the Thompson Center to be part of their portfolio.

Google in Talks To Buy Chicago’s Thompson Center
https://www.costar.com/article/56463...hompson-center



https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkel...h=6b6a4ffcd866

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2022/04/13/...22-mapped.html


https://www.architecturaldigest.com/...realestate/amp

ChiCAgo IS iN a doWnWarD SpIRal

Chi-Sky21 Jun 29, 2022 1:24 PM

The reports of its death have been GREATLY exaggerated!

twister244 Jun 29, 2022 2:17 PM

I couldn't get past the pay wall, but is there any indication Google would keep a part of the building open to the public? Or would they just occupy the entire building outright?

I would hope for the former. This building does kinda seem like a "Google" like building... With the open floor plans, overall looks, etc.

marothisu Jun 29, 2022 2:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twister244 (Post 9663065)
I couldn't get past the pay wall, but is there any indication Google would keep a part of the building open to the public? Or would they just occupy the entire building outright?

I would hope for the former. This building does kinda seem like a "Google" like building... With the open floor plans, overall looks, etc.

Very possible that they keep part of it as public if the sale goes through. They own Chelsea Market in Manhattan and have some offices in it, but also the market portion is completely public and very busy.

Of course, this is a different animal with a super wide open atrium in the middle. I'm sure it would take more time than when they just bought Chelsea Market. This probably needs some sort of work id that's the case.


A bit confusing overall as I thought there were previous, solid plans for this. But if it means putting hundreds of Google employees there then, no problem. Might even spur someone to try converting some nearby office to residential, who knows.


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