The Postmodern People's Palace must be repurposed, not demolished


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US staff


Advocacy, StarshipChicago, Chicago
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A broad coalition of groups have signed on to a letter to Ernst & Young, the consultant recently selected by the State of Illinois to manage the sale of the James R. Thompson Center.

The letter states the coalition's interest in preserving the Thompson Center and urges Ernst & Young to find a responsible and qualified buyer who will commit to keeping "this Postmodern masterpiece built by Helmut Jahn."

Parties to the letter include: Docomomo US, Docomomo US/Chicago, Preservation Chicago, Landmarks Illinois, the James R. Thompson Historical Society, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, ICOMOS ISC20C, AIA Chicago, the AIA Chicago Committee on the Environment, Illinois Green Alliance, and the Chicago Chapter of the International Building Performance Simulation Association-USA.

A fact sheet attached to the letter addresses the site's historic and cultural significance, potential incentives provided by listing the Thompson Center as a historic site, cost savings, transportation advantages, reuse potential, and sustainability issues (including a graphic on the carbon impact of preservation vs demolition).

Additionally, James R. Thompson Center Historical Society has announced that it will begin drafting a National Register nomination. Although listing in the register does not prevernt demolition, it can provide a set of financial incentives through Federal and State historic tax credits. 

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