Thompson Center is a gem — preserve it

Few buildings thrill me as much as Thompson Center.

SHARE Thompson Center is a gem — preserve it
James R. Thompson Center.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

On the windswept plaza of the State of Illinois (now Thompson) Center 35 years ago this week, I attended the unveiling of the Dubuffet sculpture (“Snoopy-in-Blender”). It sparked my decades-long affection for that sculpture and that building.

So it was with interest (and chuckles) that I read David Roeder’s “Time, trends have been unkind to Thompson Center” [Nov. 19]. Roeder suggests a plebiscite on the building’s future. Despite his solid case for demolition, I say preserve.

I worked for 12 years in the Thompson Center on five different floors (from the basement to 16). In April 1985, I had the honor of organizing the very first press conference in the building’s history (starring Ralph Nader, no less!). Few buildings thrill me as much as Thompson Center.

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It was love at first sight, but soon came the erratic temperatures, glare-cutting umbrellas and ever-busted escalators. Sounds and smells from downstairs were daunting: protestors, pols, Noon Dance Lessons. We knew if the Gen. Tso Chicken would be extra-spicy and when the Jesse White Tumblers were nearing the end of the routine.

Still, I loved working there. I never tired of the elevator ride or staring out the glass curtain on rainy days (even when the rain flooded the food court). I admired Helmut Jahn’s concept: a design to enable everyday citizens to see their public servants at work. (He was WAY off on that one … guess he didn’t know Illinois politics.)

Like Roeder, I often imagined a zip-line from top floors (to relieve rush-hour waits for the elevators, of course). I recall a modern dance performance there years ago, with bungeeing acrobats floating floor to floor in the atrium (a Cirque de Soleil metaphor for State government).

The Thompson Center is a gem. Let’s keep it.

Claude Walker, West Ridge

Where is president’s support for Hong Kong?

Since its foundation, this nation has prided itself on being a beacon for freedom and liberty, yet we hear virtually nothing from the president about the struggles in Hong Kong.

The president seems compelled to give his gratuitous opinions on any and all subjects and to sharply, if childishly, criticize any number of people and nations, but is silent on the challenge to freedom which is the essence of the Hong Kong situation.

Why is it that he is silent on this troubling development? One would guess he is afraid of further disturbing the Chinese, who he first upset with his ill-considered and unsuccessful tariff strategy. In effect, Trump appears to be sacrificing support for freedom on the false altar of a failed trade policy. Whatever the reasons, we should be ashamed that the leader of the free world will not say, or try to do, anything about the Hong Kong situation.

William P. Gottschalk, Lake Forest

Disgracing themselves

Republicans in Congress have disgraced themselves again. Rep. Devin Nunes’ reference to the Robert Mueller investigation as the Russian hoax repeatedly is shameful partisan political theater. These impeachment hearings are serious and important. It’s too bad that the Republicans cannot behave with dignity and respect for the process.

Michael Shepherd, Bellwood

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