Along the eastern branch of the Chicago River lies one of the most formally interesting skyscrapers in all of Chicago, Marina City by Bertrand Goldberg. Completed in 1964, Marina City, at the time, was the tallest residential projects in the world and still remains one of the densest inhabited developments. Unlike any project before it, Marina City was an experiment of allocating diverse programs into a “city within a city.” Although, it is not as widely recognized as the Sears Tower or the John Hancock Building, Marina City’s distinctive “corn-cob” shape has a strong presence among modern architecture, as well as Chicago’s skyline. In 1959 when Bertrand Goldberg was commissioned for the project, he had no prior experience designing at such a large scale; he mainly worked on smaller scale residential and institutional projects. However, the developer, William McFetridge, president of the Building Service Employees International Union, entrusted Goldberg to design a complex that would slow Chicago’s urban exodus. At the beginning of the 1960s, those that lived in the city were growing tired of the dense, overcrowded conditions and had taken “flight” to the suburbs for a more open and accommodating way of life. Marina City was an attempt at combating and reversing the flow of people back into the city, so close to the Loop. It was a model of efficiency and convenience for modern living in a metropolitan area.
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