Enrico Conti sheds light on the winning architectural design

architectural design

The seven finalists of the Thompson Design Competition that involve a new innovative vision for the state Illinois Thompson Center designed by Helmut Jahn in 1985 have been revealed by the Chicago Architecture Center and Chicago Architecture Club.

What brought about the competition?

The Thompson Center was built in 1985 and it began to make headlines after the death of architect Helmut Jahn in May. The building has been renowned for its iconic post-modern architectural work and one of its kind Chicago. 

The building appeared on the engendered list when the state of Illinois considered it as being neglected plus it requires a whopping $325 million for repair. Hence, the state decided to put it up for sale. 

This has got many rising up to save this legendary building that has housed state offices for decades. Preservationists and architects are of the hope that if they could save the building from being sold, renovate and reuse it for greater, better things. 

“Many fear this unique piece of architecture might end up being turned into a skyscraper. Hence, the need to come to the rescue and see to it that this masterpiece is preserved,” Enrico Conti, a renowned architect says. People across the globe have been summoned to come up with creative designs. The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) and the Chicago Architectural Club teamed up to encourage entrants to submit new visions and designs for the building in order to preserve it. 

The announcement of the finalists

The announcement of the winning design proposal will be made during the ceremony of the pop-up exhibition which will be held on the 14th of September at the Chicago Architecture center, which might also run through October. Some people believed that during renovation, preserving its public character and architecture through restorative architecture cannot be achieved. Well, the competition is set to overrule that. 

It is a competition that is open to young architects, students, designers, artists, and planners, leading to 59 entries from 5 countries. The seven finalists that were selected for the Chicago Prize Competition 2021 proposed to transform the Thompson center into a modern center with new functions by establishing a good balance between environment and architecture.  

Enrico Conti, a well-renowned architect, provides an overview of the seven selected projects. These are the finalists selected by the jury and the winner will be announced exhibiting the finalists’ designs coming up on September 14. The seven finalists include: 

“Offset: The Vertical Loop” submitted by Tom Lee and Christopher Eastman of Eastman Lee Architects. 

“One Chicago School” Submitted by Jay Longo, Michael Quach, James Michaels, Mackenzie Anderson, Kaitlin Frankforter, Abaan Zia, Nicolas Waidele, Roberta Brucato, Zachary Michaliska of Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Chicago.

“Public Pool” submitted by David Rader, Jerry Johnson, Ryan Monteleagre, and Matt Zelensek of Perkins & Will

“Rejuvenation” submitted by Yuqi Shao and Andrew Li,  architecture students at Illinois Institute of Technology.

” Ripple” submitted by Patrick Carata, Simon Cygielski, Sarah Bush, Ilyssa Kaserman, Sean King, Amparito Martinez, Marcin Rysniak, Mica Manaois, Ed Curley, and Cameron Scott of Epstein.

“There is something for everyone” submitted by Chava Danielson, Eric Haas, Tim Jordan, Bohan Charlie Lang, and Xixi Luo of DSH architecture, Los Angeles. 

“Thompson scraper” submitted by Wenyi Zhu of Zhu Wenyi Atelier at Tsinghua University, Beijing.

These are the seven architectural designs that make it to the finals. Some of the designs suggested turning the Thompson center into a public school that focuses on public policy and civic engagement for students, a public park, a rooftop farm, civic and social space, a Thompson scraper, and many more. 

“Not much to do. We can only fold hands and see which designs come out as the winner. The Thompson center is about to be great again!” Enrico Conti concludes.