Block Club: Sbarro Urbanists Celebrate Thompson Center

Postmodern architecture enthusiasts pose for a photo by the Sbarro during a pizza party at the Sbarro in the Thompson Center on Aug. 19, 2022. Photo credit: Colin Boyle / Block Club Chicago

“A pizza party Friday in the basement of the Thompson Center had one purpose: saving postmodern architecture — and Sbarro pizza.

“About two dozen of the ‘Sbarro Urbanists,’ as they call themselves, gathered in the center’s atrium to get a slice and enjoy the famed building. They hope its unique architecture will be preserved as the building is being sold to Google, which will transform it into offices.

“‘Is everyone here for the nerd convention?’ Garrett Karp, architecture and urban history enthusiast, said as he approached the tables of pizza and Thompson Center ephemera.

“The pizzeria chain even got in on the fun. Sbarro saw the tweets about the gathering and sent company swag: socks, yo-yos and canteens.

“And though the Sbarro Urbanists have a love for pizza and the building’s food court — which has long inspired a strange devotion among Chicagoans — their main focus is on the Thompson Center itself.

“‘It really shows that people love the Thompson Center like they have really, very well-utilized public space: the affordable lunch, the bathrooms, the CTA station,’ Elizabeth Blasius said at the pizza party.

“Google has agreed to buy all of the building for $105 million after it is renovated by other organizations. The Thompson Center will be ‘entirely redeveloped’ into an office suite for Google’s workers as part of the deal, Gov. JB Pritzker said at a July news conference.

“The sale saved the building from the wrecking ball — but preservationists hope it doesn’t see too much change under new ownership.

“‘There’s no reason that a building of this scale the size, exterior square footage and everything else that it’s got can’t be made to perform a function like you would hope a new building would,’ architect Gunny Harboe said.” (Boyle, Block Club Chicago, 8/19/22)

Read the full story at Block Club Chicago

The Thompson Center’s Sbarro Super Fans Held A Pizza Party To Save The Famed Building; Though the Sbarro Urbanists have a love for pizza and the building’s food court — which has long inspired a strange devotion; among Chicagoans — their main focus is on preserving the Thompson Center, Colin Boyle, Block Club Chicago, 8/19/22


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