What would you do with the Thompson Center?

March 22, 2010


(photo by Lee Bey)

I passed the Thompson Center the other day.

We all remember the air conditioning system that couldn't‚ adequately cool the state office building--nearly baking its occupants--when it‚ opened in 1985. Then there was all the‚ back-and-forth over the building's unusual design. And in 2004, former Gov Rod Blagojevich led a failed effort to mortgage the building for $200 million to help shore-up the state's budget.‚ Then late last year, workers began removing 1,000 overhead granite pieces from the center's concourse after a section of the heavy stone crashed to the ground.

Has any Loop building led a more hard-knock life than this one? But the 17-story Thompson Center is a fixture downtown. Located on a prime corner across from City Hall and the Daley Center, the building is also a major public transit connection point with six CTA rail lines stopping there. The atrium is still one of the most visually awesome spaces in the city.

That said, the building needs help. So what would you do‚ to improve the Thompson Center's‚  function, design--or both?

What changes would you make to make a‚ better building? Post your comments below and let's have a dialogue.‚  Just to get things started, I'll‚ offer‚ this: I am‚ over the Jean Dubuffet sculpture outside the main entrance.‚  So let's move it inside, clean it up and commission a‚ soaring new public art piece as part of a remake of the plaza. Now your turn. (And here are a few more pix to get things going):


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)


(photo by Lee Bey)