The ledge of The Center | The Thompson Center, as my friend who works in the building says, “is ridiculous.” He’s not a fan. When the building went in back in 1985 it got mixed reviews. I stand on the opposite side of the ledger. It may not be functional with the vast majority of the edifice housing open space, but it is fantastical and postmodern. That makes for a happy photographer.
Its spectacle obvious, you can’t go off finding dreamy images to make with any kind of comfort. You get slapped if you’re caught taking a picture here. The reason the building is intentionally spacious is to suggest the display of open government. It does house the State of Illinois, and for anyone truly paying attention the past decade-plus, that openness in state government is debatable at best. A large swath of security, including metal detectors at the elevators, protect the 17-story building from whatever perceived security threat. There was a time you could ride to the top floor and shoot down to the sunburst designed into the basement floor. Not after 9-11. That basement is from where this photo is taken, under the rim-like ledge of the first floor, from off a table-top, discretely, so I didn’t get ushered out.