Chicago’s Marina City will be considered for landmark status

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Chicago's Marina City will be considered for landmark status
Architect Bertrand Goldberg, left, with a Marina City model, circa 1960

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Chicago's Marina City will be considered for landmark status
Architect Bertrand Goldberg, left, with a Marina City model, circa 1960

Marina City, the iconic Chicago riverfront complex famed for its corncob-shaped towers, could soon be on the way to becoming an official city landmark.

Designed by architect Bertrand Goldberg and built in the 1960s, the modernist complex at 300 N. State St. will be recommended Thursday for preliminary landmark status at a meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

A 54-page report by the commission’s staff calls Marina City “the most ambitious and forward-thinking post-war urban renewal project in Chicago in an era defined by ambitious urban renewal projects.”

Goldberg’s design, a poetic expression in concrete that combined residential, commercial and entertainment uses to form a “city within a city,” is one of the most recognizable images on the Chicago skyline.

“This is the Goldberg that no one can believe is not already a landmark,” said Lisa DiChiera, director of advocacy for Landmarks Illinois, a Chicago-based statewide preservation group. “It’s on every postcard of downtown Chicago, practically.”

If approved by the City Council, which has the final say on landmark status, the move would mark a significant exception to the recent destruction of midcentury concrete buildings, including Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, around the country. Last year, Northwestern University finished its demolition of Prentice, a cloverleaf-shaped high-rise, to make way for a medical research building. []

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