Thompson Center Architect Floats Bold Skyscraper Proposal Amid Demolition Threats
By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 20, 2017 9:29PM
Rendering of proposal by Helmut Jahn / via Crain's
Crain's reports that architect Helmut Jahn has suggested a huge, 110-story addendum structure in response to what he called Republicans’ “monstrosity” proposal, a 1,700-foot tower designed by Adrian Smith (Burj Khalifa, Chicago's Trump Tower) that, if constructed, would be Chicago’s largest building. (Republican lawmakers are also presenting less outsize concepts to replace the divisive, postmodern monument, including 40- through 70-story mixed-use structures, Crain's reports.)
We’re not convinced either skyscraper concept has much chance of realization, but the whole debate is a reminder that Thompson Center’s days may ultimately be numbered—which would be a shame. Yes, it regularly makes any list of Chicago’s (even the nation’s) ugliest buildings, and its cavernous, underused design is a strain on utilities for an eternally cash-strapped state. But it’s our ugly oddity, and there’s not much else like it—and we tend to make these demolition decisions with far too little deliberation.
So even if Jahn’s proposal is just a counter-pipedream pipedream, we’ll take stays of execution for the Thompson Center any way they come.
Rendering of proposal by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill