Terri Meyer Boake BES BArch MArch LEED AP
Associate Professor :: Associate Director :: School of Architecture :: University of Waterloo

James R. Thompson Center

(formerly State of Illinois Building)

Murphy/Jahn Architects

Chicago, Illinois


Project Information:

The James R. Thompson Center, formerly known as the State of Illinois Building, designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, was completed in 1985 -- close to the end of the "Post Modern" era in architectural design. Its brightly coloured red exposed steel frame plays off the bright turquoise coloured cladding and back painted curtain wall glazing on both the interior of the atrium as well as the exterior of the building. A similar language of colour can be seen in the departures drop off portion of the Chicago O'Hare Airport, also by the same architect.

The building houses government offices on the upper floors, with shops and galleries at the base of the building.

more info: link

Project Images:

View inside the main entrance looking up the front sloped glazed wall. A steel truss system supports this full height section of glazing.
View through the front entrance, sloped roof skylight in the background.

View towards the circulation balcony. This is made from steel framed floor sections, with precast concrete infill panels, that is suspened on its outer edge from the roof truss structure well above.
Closer view of the stairs that ring the atrium space and allow for floor to floor access through the atrium.

View from the front entrance, through steel sculpture, towards elevators.
Atrium floor at entry courtyard level, providing access to the glazed elevators beyond.
View towards the steel structure/three dimensional truss system at the top of the atrium..
Closer view of the truss system that rings the top of the atrium. Glazing beyond is striped with back painted panels to cut down on heat gain in the space.
Steel truss at top floor.
Looking into the atrium space from the rear entrance at the access point to the L-train station.
Steel HSS tubes forming vertical members, combined with narrow WF sections on the horizontal, form the structural system that encloses the full height atrium elevators.
View up the atrium.
View through the sloped glazed fascia at the entry to the building. This provides a spectacular view up into the atrium even on days when the building is closed to the public.
View up the exterior front glazed wall.
The Center provides space for public art and galleries, starting with this piece in the plaza.


These images are for educational use only and may not be reproduced commercially without written permission. tboake@sympatico.ca

Updated July 19, 2005