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.

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