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Marina City
300 N. State St. at the Chicago River
Chicago, Illinois 60610

Bertrand Goldberg Associates 1967

Sitting on a three-acre site, the entire Marina City complex consists of the two "corncob" towers, two commercial buildings, a theater, and of course, a marina - a mixed-use urban development unusual for its time.

It offered on-site amenities such as stores, a health club, swimming pool, skating rink, marina, bowling alley, and exhibit space, trying to reassert urban community and amenities in spite of the exodus to the suburbs. It is, by all accounts, robustly successful: it has become a beloved Chicago icon, with superb views from the fishbowl apartment windows.

Wim de Wit, in the AIA Guide to Chicago, says: "More than in any other high-rise apartments, in Marina City one has the feeling of having the whole city at one’s feet." I must add that standing 60 stories tall, with the lower twenty floors for parking, the building from the ground looks like some sort of cement flower with bright, twinkly car petals.

Bertrand Goldberg was both an architect and an engineer, and trained at Harvard and at the Bauhaus. In this unusual design the central core (the cob) is 35 feet in diameter, and houses the services and utilities; it bears 70 percent of the weight. The post and beam cage (the corn) around the perimeter bears the rest.

 

Text Christy Rogers 1998, updated 2008
Photographs Simon Glynn 2007


How to visit

Marina City is on the north bank of the Chicago River in central Chicago just north of the 'Loop', between the North State Street and North Deaborn Street bridges, opposite Ueast Upper Wacker Drive.

The nearest subway is at State/Lake; walk one block north, towards the river, up North State Street and you will see Marina City on the opposite bank.

As a mixed-use development there is plenty that is open to visit in the broader complex, and the lower levels of the towers themselves including public parking.

 

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