monstrous, and perpetually startling, the Thompson Center may be the most
controversial building in Chicago. I happen to like it, but I sympathize
with foes' complaints. For one thing, it is a miserable waste of space,
a blasphemy in a city whose architectural motto used to be "form follows
function." When you get inside it seems like half of it has disappeared.
For another, the orangish- red-and-blue color scheme is visually grating.
For another, postmodern architecture is supposed to have historical references,
and this building defies precedent in a Jetsons-space-age kind of way.
And no, I can't figure out that fettecuine-alfredo-like sculpture out front
But the sheer
brashness and verve of the design capture the attention in a powerful way,
making the Thompson Center an vibrant gathering place for the otherwise
snoozifying business of state government. I get my haircut here every month,
and I always look forward to walking through the doors and letting my eyes
swim around the ceiling. Like Chicago itself, the Thompson Center is not
always pretty, but it is a commanding presence. -NB
about the Thompson Center from the State of Illinois