James R. Thompson Center

Design Competition Showcases Thompson Center Redesign Ideas

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

From a waterpark resort to a public school, seven finalists have been named in a design competition to repurpose a much-maligned state government building in downtown Chicago.

State officials are trying to sell the James R. Thompson Center, which was designed by famed architect Helmet Jahn. State officials say the 17-story curved-glass structure that opened in 1985 is inefficient and requires hundreds of millions of dollars worth of repairs and updates to keep it running.

The building houses offices for the governor and employees of state agencies, who are scheduled to move next year to another building on the city’s near West Side.

Illinois officials are seeking bids for a developer and have not committed to any preservation ideas. State officials have said they want to sell the building by February of 2022.

Architecture buffs have pushed for preservation, an effort that's been renewed in the wake of Jahn's death in May.

The finalists were named earlier in the week. A group of design and preservation experts picked the finalists from 59 entries. A winner will be chosen Sept. 14.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us