Design: The Battle of Starship Chicago

No one is neutral about a radical new state office building

No wonder residents call it Starship Chicago, when they are not calling it ruder names. It seems not so much to have risen in the Loop as to have landed there. The outside of the futuristic new State of Illinois Center has three tiers of curving glass setbacks fanning out in a vertically striped polygon. A canopy of pink and white glass panels dresses the base; a sliced-cylinder skylight emerges at the top. Inside, in a light-filled atrium, salmon pink terraces climb for 17 stories around a circular plaza. Glass elevators rise and fall along the outside of two towers. As...

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