Thompson Center, Chicago

Thompson Center

     The James R. Thompson Center is located at 100 West Randolph Street, Chicago.  It houses offices of the Illinois State Government.  The location of the Thompson Center was previously the location of the Sherman House Hotel.

     The building opened in May, 1985 as the State of Illinois Center.  It was later was renamed in 1993 as the James R. Thompson Center in honor of a former governor of Illinois. The building occupied the entire block bordered by Randolph, Lake, Clark, and LaSalle Streets.

Thompson Center

    The building was designed by Helmut Jahn.  Reviews of the building ranged from wonderful to outrageous.  The building is 17 stories high.  The exterior is all glass.  It slopes facing a plaza on the south eastern corner of the property. Single paned curved glass panels were used.  Unfortunately, it is expensive to hear and cool.

     There is an art sculpture at the front entrance by French artist Jean Dubuffet.  The building housed nineteen specially commissioned artworks funded by the State of Illinois Art-in-Architecture Program.  The building also has over 150 of the state’s 600 works collected under the Percent for Art Program.

     Over the years, there have been multiple proposals to sell the building.  In 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill to begin the sale of the Thompson Center, with a three year limit to find a buyer.    There has been a recent initiative to save the building.

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