“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago
For those of you who have been watching the Making a Murderer documentary on Netflix, this building will be familiar as the courthouse where Brendan Dassey's appeal case went down. The building is best recognized by its 53-feet tall red steel sculpture in front that was built in 1974 and known as "Flamingo". Named after Illinois Congressman Everett Dirksen, the U.S courthouse (Dirksen Federal Building) is home to several court districts—U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Illinois, and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. It also houses other court-related departments like the U.S Probation Service.
In 1960, world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was brought on board to help construct the newly authorized federal building in the Chicago Loop. It would be the only courthouse he ever designs in his career. He made the building 30 stories high and the courthouse features a 25 feet tall glass-enclosed great hall. The steel-and-glass architecture of the complex makes it bold and memorable. Mies has been praised and awarded on his minimalistic and breathtaking work, throughout the course of the complex’s timespan. After some build up and tear down of replacing older offices with new ones, the U.S courthouse was the first of the complex to be completed. Later on, the Loop station post office and the new federal building were added to the Chicago Federal Plaza. In 1969, the courthouse was renamed in honor of Everett M. Dirksen after his death.
Visiting the complex and courthouse is an inventive way to spend a few hours in downtown Chicago. While there are no open tours, the public hours for the courthouse are Monday-Friday, 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Fresh Seasons Café is also located in the courthouse building with free WiFi.