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  #121  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2022, 7:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
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.


Source: chicago.curbed.com
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  #122  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2022, 7:48 PM
west-town-brad west-town-brad is offline
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Originally Posted by woodrow View Post
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.
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  #123  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2022, 8:35 PM
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Stewart Hicks recently made a nice video explaining its value, its ugliness, and the "indoor plaza" design of the interior.

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  #124  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2022, 8:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rgarri4 View Post
Stewart Hicks recently made a nice video explaining its value, its ugliness, and the "indoor plaza" design of the interior.

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Love that guys stuff. Interesting video, glad to see the structure will continue to stand, even if it's changed in ways.
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  #125  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2022, 11:37 PM
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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
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  #126  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2022, 5:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
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 View Post
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.

Last edited by aaron38; Jan 6, 2022 at 5:48 AM.
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  #127  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2022, 4:32 PM
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Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
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.
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  #128  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2022, 5:25 PM
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^^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.
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  #129  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2022, 6:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kolchak View Post
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)
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  #130  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2022, 9:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
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.

Last edited by aaron38; Jan 6, 2022 at 9:33 PM.
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  #131  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 12:51 AM
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^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.
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  #132  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2022, 7:47 AM
rivernorthlurker rivernorthlurker is offline
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Originally Posted by left of center View Post
If Union Station has an addition added on, it should be the original plan by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White.


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.

Last edited by rivernorthlurker; Jan 7, 2022 at 8:07 AM.
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  #133  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2022, 6:40 PM
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Jan 13

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  #134  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2022, 9:58 AM
rivernorthlurker rivernorthlurker is offline
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Originally Posted by harryc View Post
Jan 13

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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.
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  #135  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2022, 2:25 PM
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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.
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  #136  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2022, 2:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MAC123 View Post
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.
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Last edited by sentinel; Feb 3, 2022 at 3:33 PM.
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  #137  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2022, 3:32 PM
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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.
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  #138  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2022, 4:07 PM
west-town-brad west-town-brad is offline
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the photos clearly show the hub of activity that this building is not

looks pretty though
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  #139  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2022, 4:09 PM
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Originally Posted by west-town-brad View Post
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..
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  #140  
Old Posted Feb 3, 2022, 4:33 PM
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Originally Posted by le_brew View Post
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.
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