Freeform, 1993
Richard Hunt
Façade, Michael A. Bilandic Building
160 North LaSalle Street

            This 21-story building and former seat of state government, designed by the architectural firm D.H. Burnham and Company in 1920, fell into disrepair after the opening of the James R. Thompson Center in 1985. Extensive renovation was completed by Holabird and Root in 1992 and, the following year, Richard Hunt’s massive, stainless steel Freeform was installed on the façade in front of the 7th and 8th floors. Weighing approximately three tons and measuring 26 x 35 feet, the curvilinear forms are suggestive of flickering flames and belie the tremendous weight and size of the piece. Although unusual for Hunt, in that the piece is attached to a building rather than a freestanding sculpture, its appearance follows the artist’s ongoing interest in harmonizing the tension between the natural and the industrial, the organic and the abstract, and the traditional and the contemporary.  

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