Note: This review previously appeared in our sister publication, The Chicago Architecture Blog, published July 26, 2010.
"The Corncob Towers." "The Pie Spires." "Aunt Flo's Curlers." People may not always know what the twin towers on State Street at the Chicago River are called, but they at least know them. Bertrand Goldberg's penultimate architectural creation, Marina City (300 North State Street), has inspired and amazed a generation of tourists and locals. Now a new book chronicles how the buildings we see today were shaped, and what went on behind the scenes.
Many people don't realize it, but Marina City was Chicago, and America's first downtown revitalization project. It proved that if you built a city-within-a-city, you could attract people to the urban core where they would live, work, and thrive. Since then the idea has been copied and expanded in Chicago and around the world. Today a responsible developer wouldn't think of embarking on a huge project without considering the live+work+play model. But in the 1960's, a time when suburban cul-de-sac developers and auto dealers were demonizing America's urban cores, this was considered revolutionary.
More than just the story of a building, this book tells the tale of the people behind Marina City -- the deals that had to be brokered, the challenges faced, the hurdles surmounted; with enough politics and intrigue to make this a truly Chicago story.
As someone who travels around the world frequently, whenever I mention Chicago to someone, I cringe in anticipation of the inevitable reference to Al Capone. But did you know that Marina City was celebrated around the world as a new symbol of Chicago's renaissance? It was influential enough to supplant Capone as the first notion people had of Chicago. American Airlines published a guide to Chicago that featured Marina City on its cover. Even in Cold War-era Moscow, Marina City was known and considered a symbol of the city.
As interesting as all the facts and background material are, it's the photos that really make this book. Historic pictures and diagrams of Marina City that show it with the old TV tower still on top. There are pictures of the skyscrapers when they were new and clean, and not festooned with twinkle lights and blow-up dolls as they frequently are now. Perhaps if today's residents of Marina City read this book, they might treat their home with a little more respect and pride.
If you have even a passing interest in Chicago's history or architecture, I recommend picking this book up. It's a quick and easy read and contains a lot of good information.
Marina City: Bertrand Goldberg's Urban Vision
By Igor Marjanovic and Katerina Rüedi Ray
Published May 26, 2010 by Princeton Architectural Press
176 pages - Paperback
US $35.00, UK £25.00
This book was sent to me unsolicited by Princeton Architectural Press. I have received no monetary or other compensation for this review. If you would like to send a book for review, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you the mailing address.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010
If you're among those looking forward to the 2012 Olympics in London, then this press release just sent over by Populous (formerly HOK Sport) will be of interest to you:
Friday, July 23, 2010
China, someone is trying to make it. This is a gift shop outside of a monastery and shrine in Ngong Ping in the New Territories of China. It is well equipped to handle the needs of anyone who forgot to bring their sacrifices, or perhaps realized too late that their sacrifices pale in comparison to their neighbors sacrifices.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The beautifully ornate Deutsche Orientbank is evidence of a different period of time in geopolitics, when Germany was a colonial power with aspirations for Middle East expansion. Today the once glorious building is on a back street in Istanbul, and no longer the presence it once was.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This sign at Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong warns against using electricity, poison, or explosives while fishing. You have to wonder about the kind of society that warrants this sort of warning.
Monday, July 19, 2010
A television live truck crashes through the wall of a building in downtown Toronto. The truck is a work of art placed there by CITY Television back when this was the CHUM-CITY Building. Later, as stations were bought and sold in the market, the truck was repainted with the CityPulse24 logo. The media companies have since vacated this building. Last we heard, it was undecided if the truck would stay. Some consider it a great piece of folk art and a landmark of the neighborhood.
Friday, July 16, 2010
A statue of Christ the Redeemer looks out over the harbor of Ischia Porto on the island of Ischia in Italy. Over the decades it has welcomes countless sailors, tourists, and others to the sheltering waters of the calm harbor.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
The BP Pedestrian Bridge snakes across Columbus Drive in Chicago. The sun glints off its stainless steel scales as the serpentine structure carries pedestrians between Millennium Park and Grant Park.