Chicago has many iconic buildings, but perhaps none as instantly recognizable as Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City,commonly referred to as the “corncob buildings.” Occupying an entire city block, the mixed-use riverside complex consists of two cylindrical sixty-five-story residential towers, a saddle-shaped auditorium, and a midrise office building. Each tower contains more than four hundred apartments and a continuous, upward-spiraling ramp of parking spaces. Built in 1964 at a moment when Chicagoans were fleeing to the suburbs, the hugely ambitious project was architect Goldberg’s attempt to save the city of Chicago.
In Marina City, authors Igor Marjanovic and Katerina Redi Ray present the first history of this architectural landmark. Featuring newly available archive photographs and drawings, this unique building’s biography contains lively essays that explore not only the buildings architectural achievements, but also the ingenious marketing campaign and complex network of political partnerships necessary to realize Goldberg’s vision. As thearchitect’s self-penned glossy brochures detailed, Marina City offered residents a self-contained world that included a theater, restaurant, bowling alley, health club, ice-skating rink, grocery store, bank, and parking garage. It is no wonder that before it was finished 2,500 applications had been submitted to rent 896 apartments. The culmination of thirty years of thought and development, Marina City became an instantaneous icon that made Bertrand Goldberg the first Chicago architect to achieve superstar status with one project. From the financing to the structural engineering, this one-of-kind volume fills in missing chapters of modern architecture, urban politics, and labor history.