The JAMES R. THOMPSON (JRTC) is located in Chicago’s Loop and houses offices of the State of Illinois. The building opened in May 1985 as the State of Illinois Center. It was renamed in 1993 to honor former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson. The property takes up the entire block bound by Randolph, Lake, Clark and LaSalle Streets, one of the 35 full-size city blocks within Chicago’s Loop. In front of the Thompson Center is a sculpture, “Monument With Standing Beast”, by Jean Dubuffet. The JRTC was designed by Murphy/Helmut Jahn and opened to mixed reviews by critics, ranging from “outrageous” to “wonderful”. The color of the street-level panels was compared to tomato soup. The 17-story, all-glass exterior does not reflect the building’s function, and instead conveys an image of pure postmodernism, the effect is striking. Visitors to the JRTC’s interior can see all 17 floors layered partway around the building’s immense skylit atrium. The open-plan offices on each floor are supposed to carry the message of “an open government in action”.
Frank Gehry, winner of the National Medal of Art and the designer of the JAY PRITZKER PAVILION, applied his signature style to Millennium Park’s revolutionary outdoor concert venue.
The Pavilion stands 120-feet high, with a billowing headdress of brushed stainless steel ribbons that frame the stage opening and connect to an overhead trellis of crisscrossing steel pipes. The trellis supports the sound system, which spans the 4,000 fixed seats and the Great Lawn, which accommodates an additional 7,000 people.
Pritzker Pavilion serves as the centerpiece for Millennium Park and is the new home of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Grant Park Music Festival, the nation’s only remaining free outdoor classical music series, including the free 4th of July concert. It also hosts a wide range of music series and annual performing arts events. Performers ranging from mainstream rock bands to classical musicians and opera singers have appeared at the pavilion. All rehearsals at the pavilion are open to the public; trained guides are available for the music festival rehearsals, which are also well-attended.