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No great architectural creation has escaped unscathed from the prying eyes of critics, and this is the same case with the James R. Thompson Center ? an urban wonder considered as one of the most significant structures in Chicago. It now houses the offices of Illinois? government agencies.

Designed by visionary architect Helmut Jahn, the James R. Thompson Center was completed in 1985 after winning the Distinguished Building Award given by the American Institute of Architects Chicago Chapter. To the supporters, Jahn?s work was a powerful statement that broke all rules of architecture, a pioneering structural invention and innovation. However, to the critics, the building is impractical and a waste of money and was given the infamous alias ?cash register? as $89 million was spent to build it.

Despite all the controversies, the James R. Thompson Center remains to be one of the most revered and lauded buildings, not just in the state of Illinois, but the whole of United States. Sheer size alone, it is quite imposing with the height of 100 meters and occupying a massive land area measuring 100,000 square meters. It is made up of seventeen floors plus two basement levels.

But more than its size, perhaps the most breathtaking feature of the James R. Thompson Center is its magnificent curved exterior made of glass-cased steel with exposed metals in red and turquoise making it a colorful sight. Inside, there is a cavernous atrium wherein skylight can be found at its zenith. When riding its glass elevator, one can look down and be amazed open cut out view of the lobby measuring 22 meters in diameter.

Aside from government offices, the James R. Thompson Center is a bustling commercial site and the most extensive modern art depository in Chicago. The most popular art piece here called ?Monument with Standing Beast? is a black and white statue which welcomes guests at its main entrance.
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