by Wes Douglas, USk Chicago
As we look forward to the 8th International Symposium, we will continue to take you on a virtual tour of my favorite views of Chicago which I have named “Postcards from Chicago.” Each week we will post a different scene of Chicago – some may be familiar to you and some may be less familiar – and by the time we am done it should be time for the Symposium. To help me illustrate the popularity of this architecture, I am happy to feature the work of Chicago Urban Sketchers Alex Zonis, Don Yang and Joel Berman.
The Marina City complex was designed in 1959 by architect Bertrand Goldberg and completed in 1964 at a cost of $36 million, financed to a large extent by the union of building janitors and elevator operators, who sought to reverse the pattern of “white flight” from the city’s downtown area. When finished, the two towers were both the tallest residential buildings and the tallest reinforced concrete structures in the world. The complex was built as a city within a city, featuring numerous on-site facilities including a theatre, gym, swimming pool, ice rink, bowling alley, several stores and restaurants, and, of course, a marina.
Marina City was the first urban post-war high-rise residential complex in the United States and is widely credited with beginning the residential renaissance of American inner cities. Its model of mixed residential and office uses and high-rise towers with a base of parking has become a primary model for urban development in the United States and throughout the world, and has been widely copied throughout many cities internationally. Marina City construction employed the first tower crane used in the United States. Many Chicagoans like to refer to these towers as “The Corncobs” because of their striking resemblance to ears of corn.