175 West Jackson

175 West Jackson

175 West Jackson, the Insurance Exchange Building in the heart of the financial district in downtown Chicago. Next to the Chicago Board of Trade and across the street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Designed in 1911 by legendary Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, same man who designed such architectural icons like the Flatiron Building in New York City, Union Station in Washington DC, London’s Selfridges department store.

When I look at this brick and terracotta facade I see order. I see pencil marks and ruler lines of the design made by a man in constant struggle for the order in the world of chaos.

Order is when everything is certain.

Order is tribe, religion, hearth, home and country. It’s the warm, secure living room where the fireplace glows and the children play. It’s the flag of the nation. It’s the value of the currency. Order is the floor beneath your feet, and the plan for the day.

Order is the place where the behavior of the world matches our expectations and our desires. The place where all things turn out the way we want them to be. We feel stable, calm and competent.

Chaos is the domain of ignorance.

It is the stranger, the rustle in the bushes in the dark, the monster under your bed, the anger of your mother, the sickness of your child. Chaos is the despair and horror you feel when you have been profoundly betrayed.

It is the place you end up when things fall apart, when your dreams die, your career collapses, your marriage dies.

Chaos is when we don’t know where we are. Chaos is when we don’t know what we are doing. (Jordan B Peterson).

Architects are the creators of order. They protect us from chaos. They give us hope that we’ll be safe inside when despair and horror rage outside the walls of our shelter.