Starship Chicago


Docomomo US Staff


Newsletter, Advocacy, Thompson Center
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Architect Helmut Jahn’s kaleidoscopic, controversial State of Illinois Center, which shocked the world when it opened in 1985, may not be long for this world.

Today the building is a run down rusty shadow of its former self, occupying a lucrative downtown block and deemed expendable by the cash-strapped state legislature.

Despite initial construction flaws and hefty refurbishment costs, this singular architectural vision of an open, accessible, and inspiring civic building—defined by its iconic, soaring atrium—remains intact.

Four years after the stinging loss of brutalist icon Prentice Women’s Hospital, Chicago preservationists, along with the building’s original champion, Governor James R. Thompson, are gearing up for a major battle to save the city’s most provocative architectural statement.


The exclusive international digital premiere of Starship Chicago, had its U.S. premiere during MAS Context : Analog event in October, and will be available here between November 6 and November 12, 2017.

View the film

Available to watch online through November 12.




Director & Producer: Nathan Eddy
Director of Photography: Brian Cagle
Editor & Design: Nate DeYoung
Aerial Photography: Michael Hoday
Additional Photography: Joe Gleason
Sound Mixer: Eric Brown
Music: Zain Effendi



World Premiere: Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam (October 7)
US Premiere: MAS Context : Analog in Chicago (October 21)
New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles (October 22)
Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York City (November 2-4)