The Thompson Center: Populist Postmodernism

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The “Postmodernist People’s Palace” has been controversial since it opened in 1985. Helmut Jahn’s glassy spaceship was designed to reference the dome of the state capitol and to symbolize government openness and transparency.  The building’s dizzying circular atrium (described as “a place some people love to hate”) is simultaneously an icon of the Postmodernist architectural movement and a visible reminder of the effects of deferred maintenance.

Due to the pandemic and the planned sale of the building, a full tour experience of the Thompson Center was not possible. This event will combine presentations and visual media that explore the political, cultural, and technological history of the James R. Thompson Center – and address ongoing threats to the building’s preservation. The event will conclude with a live Q&A.


Presenters: Elizabeth Blasius and Jonathan Solomon
Duration: 1 hour with live component and Q&A

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