Free tours James R. Thompson Center
When: Fri, November 15, 2019, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST. Tours will begin outside by the plaza sculpture, Monument with Standing Beast, at Randolph and Clark Streets, or if the weather is bad, under the colonnade just outside the entrance to the building. Register
Where: James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph
A group of people have formed the James R. Thompson Center Historical Society to save the long decaying home to the State of Illinois offices from the wrecking ball. To further their cause they are offering free tours of the building.
Join the James R .Thompson Center Historical Society (JRTCHS) for a tour that explores the political, cultural and technological history of the former State of Illinois Center, designed by Helmut Jahn and put into service to the people of Illinois in 1985. This tour will share new affinities, alternative histories, and critical receptions of the Thompson Center’s design over time.
Tours will last 45 minutes and be followed a brief period for questions and answers and discussion. Tours are limited to publicly accessible areas of the building exterior and interior atrium.
The next tour has a Halloween theme
“Bring your favorite ’80s outfit or costume and enjoy a walk through the Thompson Center’s lower level atrium space where visitors will learn about the forgotten history and present peril the building faces.” I’m sure if you show up in work clothes you can still attend.
Official description “Advocating for Chicago’s architectural heritage”
The James R. Thompson Center (JRTC) is a public, postmodern office building commissioned, owned, and occupied by the State of Illinois for government offices and mixed-use retail. Designed by architect Helmut Jahn in Chicago and put into service in 1985, the 17-story building is widely viewed as a threatened cultural asset as state legislators continue to push for the sale of the valuable central Loop property.
The mission of the James R. Thompson Center Historical Society (JRTCHS) is to:
- Generate new affinities for the JRTC among Chicagoans and others by leading tours and producing programming and activities that invites the public to learn about the building and share stories about their experiences.
- Advocate for the physical preservation of the building while fully recognizing and understanding that the sale and demolition of the JRTC is a possible outcome, and to use its case as an opportunity to propose expanded preservation outcomes that include cultural value of the structure, the stories within it, how and by whom, and to whom they are told.
- Assemble, catalog, and share historic material regarding the JRTC, including photographs, videos, texts, and official documents related to the building’s construction and occupation, as well as personal recollections of those who have worked in or visited the building.
The JRTCHS was formed in the summer of 2019 by Elizabeth Blasius, Jonathan Solomon, and AJ LaTrace.