Archive for the ‘Bertrand Goldberg’ Category

Jeanne Gang’s Aqua tower in Chicago looking good


Romantic, retro.

Seen from the river, from which Aqua takes it name. It’s by the Chicago river, and Lake Michigan. When finished, it’ll be 82 stories, topped by a green roof.

And Aqua looks to meet the earth in an urbane manner.

While it’s hard to find precedent in boxy Chicago for the Aqua tower, how about this: Bertrand Goldberg’s River City, which also flows and undulates next to the water

If you, like me, admire Jeanne Gang‘s work, read about her in the latest Metropolis. And don’t miss the slide show of what she’s done, and what’s to come. She and partner Mark Schendel are shining stars in Chicago. And Aqua is the most expensive project ever awarded to an American firm headed by a woman.

Other projects undulate, such as this early model of Frank Gehry’s Beekman Tower in New York.

But Studio Gang’s is different, the way it moves side to side, and moves organically, it’s more like Chicago’s famous “Little Egypt,” who danced the danse du ventre at the 1893 World’s Fair.

It dances, doesn’t it?

At times, Aqua looks like someone left a Mies out in the rain.

Which then reminds me of Rem Koolhaas. He once photoshopped breasts onto a Miesian flat facade.

Jeanne Gang and Mark Schendel worked for Koolhaas in the Netherlands.

Marina City always looks good



Reflected in the pool of one of the new downtown hotels on Dearborn.

Bertrand Goldberg’s masterworks at risk


Blair Kamin points out threats to two Goldberg structures.
An “architecturally-disruptive incursion from Dick’s Last Resort” at Goldberg’s Marina City; and the possible demolition of two little-known Goldberg buildings at the Elgin, Illinois Mental Health Center.

Also at great peril, last time I checked, is

Goldberg’s marvelous Prentice Women’s Hopsital on Chicago’s Gold Coast. It ought to be saved. Northwestern Memorial Hospital owns it. What’s the latest on the status of this Chicago treasure that enlivens a rather boxy near-north side neighborhood?

Dwell Magazine wrote on the great work of Bertrand Goldberg recently.

And if these demolitions occur, it would not be the first time that we tear down an architect’s important work, even as we honor him or her. The Art Institute of Chicago plans a major Bertrand Goldberg retrospective in the fall of 2010 in its new architecture galleries to open in the Renzo Piano-designed new wing.


Nice curves and skin
Have you seen the cladding that just went up on the ramp to Trump Chicago’s parking garage?

It may be the best part of the building. The ramp seems to flare out a bit, almost like a flower. And the green tint is nice, it has some life to it, and it’s marine-like, like much of this tower along the Chicago river. The ramp is not on the riverfront, it’s on the Wabash Avenue side.

Were the glass not green, it would look even more like Frank Gehry’s glass at IAC/InterActiveCorp Headquarters in New York.

The curves of Trump’s parking ramp complement the curves on the edges of the building. And in our straight-lined, right-angled downtown, such sensuality shocks. As does Bertrand Goldberg’s curved auditorium at Marina City, which complements the curves of that riverside structure.
-E ‘scuse me, while I kiss the sky.

Marina City photo by Ron Schramm/Edelman Gallery

Don’t make Goldberg’s windows shed tears


Is Prentice Hospital in danger of being demolished? Code Blue emergency, intensive care needed? She sits by Chicago’s lakefront. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which owns Prentice, has just opened a new maternity facility. About two months ago Northwestern told Landmarks Illinois that they do not plan to demolish the striking building from 1974-75. But an inside line is that while for now Northwestern needs the space in the old building, the long term objective could well be to tear down Prentice and put something more lucrative on the land.

Consider Northwestern’s ambitious hospital building program in the neighborhood, the desire for new technologies and comforts in hospitals today, and pricey land values there on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

Chicago’s enlightened City Council wouldn’t allow a building of that importance to be torn down, would it? Do you detect sarcasm ? Prentice, appallingly, does not have landmark protection.

She was designed, of course, by our great Bertrand Goldberg, the dapper fellow seen above.

You thought it looked familiar, in a Chicago kind of way?
Marina City, another local masterpiece by Bertrand Goldberg. Another masterpiece with no landmark protection. Now that’s really hard to believe.

Like all of Goldberg’s work, Prentice beams integrity.

He designed canvas houses, prefabricated low-cost houses, furniture and for the U.S. government – mobile vaccine laboratories. And he collaborated on projects with his friend and fellow ‘design scientist’ R. Buckminster Fuller.

Standing in front of Prentice, you can feel it breathe calmly, from deep inside its core.

Goldberg’s structurally innovative core holds up the cantilvered shell around it. His hospital plan here was copied far and wide. The blossoming layout – appropriate for a maternity hopsital – placed the doctors and nurses by the core and the rooms were clustered around them. Bertrand Goldberg ‘s son, the architect Geoffrey Goldberg, says

“The nurses and doctors could see the patients all at one time, and the patients could see them. This was unique at the time. It has proven successful – it is a sound idea, and made patients healthier, faster. It made a happy hospital.”

And it makes me happy to walk past it everyday. Its bulging curves – also appropriate for the function – are a joyful reminder that life is more complicated than most masculine, profit-obsessed, steel and glass boxes of Chicago might have you think.

Look at those windows! Here’s looking at you, kid! How human they are. Like eyes. You know maternity hospitals are emotional places. Save this building. Don’t make those windows shed tears.