To live the built reality post-pandemic is to target socio-political challenges together. Building on the Chicago legacy, there is an urgent need to update, revise and improve for more inclusive, diverse and dynamic social norms around historical context. Architecture as a form of agency is no longer simply maintained in its explicit style, construct, or material conditions, but rather, ethically sustained through the act of citation, mediation, and participation.
Unravelling pressing matters, the proposed configuration layers Jahn’s rhetoric underneath a veil of abstraction, which simultaneously renders a more coherent core as a sanctuary to gather and reflect. An infrastructure supplemental to preservation, the assembly of steel framework stands out as a new threshold, which intensifies existing circulation and refactors transitional moments to animate interactions at the convergence of bureaucracy and citizenship. The suspended meshes with visible dimensions of fostered horticulture constrains the conduction of heat, glare, odor and noise, while offering a tempered interior that is breathable, tangible, and habitable. Extended forward and outward, this intervention echoes Jahn’s original intention of “openness and accessibility” towards government buildings, by striking open the atrium, to draw out common ground for direct civic engagements at pedestrian level.
In mourning for lost artist expressions, the essence of Thompson Center resides in the empathy to embody our Present Temper as individuals, institutions, and as a society – endeavoring to a still yet-to-be equitable future.