Crash Landing?

As the drone pans over the now empty, Borg-like interiors, commentators talk about the “soul” of the place.

Designed by Helmut Jahn as Illinois’s state center, Chicago’s postmodern Thompson Center was unsustainable from the start: encased in glass, it was always too hot and stuffy in the city’s immoderate climate and cost $17 million a year to operate. Nathan Eddy’s documentary Starship Chicago II ponders what might happen to Jahn’s creation, now owned by Google, given its origins as a public building. As the drone pans over the now empty, Borg-like interiors, commentators talk about the “soul” of the place, ironic given that even the camerawork bears the imprint of a machine that’s just there to record. But all around it, Chicago has long been selling its soul as it rents or sells off its public lands and buildings to the highest bidders. Soon, only the wealthiest will be able to gaze upon this iconic structure as it looms over a downtown that few can afford.