I think it's fantastic that Chicago didn't end up with the neo-classical style civic center that so many cities across America have. Instead our government buildings have historic, modern and postmodern, an awesome blend of architectural styles.
Many of us Chicagoans have headed to Helmut Jahn's J. R. Thompson Center to renew our license with the DMV. I know that I have had plenty of CTA commutes where I got to start my day walking under the brilliant natural light of the Thompson Center's grand atrium. Or perhaps you've gone to the Daley Center for your marriage license...or divorce. Whether you live in Chicago or are just planning a visit, you may find these government buildings near our civic center to be architecturally worth a closer look.
The Daley Center
The Daley Center is faced with the same material as the Picasso sculpture - Cor-Ten Steel. This super strong material is great for sliding down. It historically was used for making slides on playgrounds, and that's why naturally children still slide down it today.
The Cook County Building
The Cook County Building was built by Brunswick of bowling fame. This skyscraper is the pale yellow building that looks like someone stamped the windows out of it. While most government buildings are usually built by the government, this one was bought by it. Brunswick Corporation had this building built. A Chicago original company, Brunswick had made everything from beautiful carved wood bars, to the systems that retrieve your bowling ball.
City Hall/Cook County Building
The City Hall/Cook County Building is really a building split right in half going north/south. Cook County started their half first, and then the City completed the building design, which from the outside looks like a seamless whole structure according to Holabird and Roche's smart design. On the roof of city hall, you'll also find Chicago's most famous rooftop garden; completed in 2001, the rooftop garden was designed to test green roof systems, native and non-native vegetation, heating and cooling benefits, and reductions in rainwater runoff.