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Architect Bertrand Goldberg

Location Chicago, Illinois
Date 1959 to 1964

Building Type mixed use-multifamily housing, offices, parking

Construction System concrete

Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Modern
Notes Twin round towers.


"Marina City, in 1959, is a thirty-six-million- dollar project built on only three acres of land in the heart
of Chicago's Loop. A dramatic landmark in the Chicago skyline, it culminated thirty years of thought
and development for Goldberg. Each of the twin, sixty-story towers had four hundred and fifty
apartments in its upper two-thirds, with the lower third a continuous parking ramp that spirals
upwards, accommodating four hundred and fifty automobiles. Since the residential level starts at the
twenty-first story, magnificent views of the city are enjoyed from every apartment. The towers are as
popular with Chicagoans as the 'corn on the cob' they are caricatured as in Goldberg's office.

"For many years Goldberg had felt there were advantages in the use of circular forms: the
aerodynamic properties in a cylindrical high-rise structure; the structural equidistance from the
center, and therefore uniform function of all parts; the absence of special corner conditions; and the
creation of centrifugal or 'kinetic' spaces resulting from non-parallel walls. The towers derive much of
their rigidity from the 35-foot-diameter cylindrical core that houses each building's services and

utilities like a vertical street. Service spaces in apartments were grouped toward this core, giving living
areas the light and view. The construction of the core preceded that of the floors, providing a rising
foundation for the erection crane, thereby saving many working days. The project is all-electric, with
heat and hot water individually produced in each apartment.

"The other elements of the 'city within a city' are a sixteen-story office building; a one- thousand-
seven-hundred-and-fifty-seat theater and a seven-hundred-seat auditorium; stores, restaurants,
bowling alleys; a gymnasium, swimming pool and skating rink; a marina for seven hundred small craft;
and a sculpture garden at the base of the towersͶall overlooking the Chicago River. Built for an
economical ten to twelve dollars a square foot, Marina City is Goldberg's response to the urgencies of
urban redevelopment...."