Bertrand Goldberg at the Art Institute

Technews Writer
Sun Oct 23, 2011

When it comes to Chicago architecture, one of the more well-known names is that of Bertrand Goldberg - the architect who popularized the urban model of “a city within a city” and designed many iconic Chicago buildings, most notably Marina City (which is more commonly called “those corncob buildings along the river in the Loop”).

Recently, the Art Institute has opened an exhibition of Goldberg’s work entitled “Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention.” The exhibition brings together many of Goldberg’s architectural drawings, photographs and models into one place, and allows the viewer to see into Goldberg’s mind, witnessing how his ideas and styles have changed as his career progressed. The exhibition also showcases several photos and drawings depicting Goldberg’s furniture designs.

The exhibition is a fascinating one, allowing the viewer to see the creative process in each project that Goldberg worked on, and how his priorities changed as he got older. While his early work is mainly composed of houses and other simple things, as he became more popular and America started looking for ways to spur urban development, his projects began getting increasingly lofty, with each larger than the last. The exhibition is almost a testament to America’s view towards urban development in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Initially, all of Goldberg’s massive urban projects are built, but as suburbs became prevalent in the 60s and 70s and deurbanization became a trend, you start to see Goldberg’s grand initial plans being stripped down before being built or never built at all.

The exhibition promises a good time for anyone who is interested in witnessing the creative process and seeing how landmark Chicago buildings were born – you don’t need to be an architect to enjoy this.

The “Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention” exhibit is running at the Art Institute of Chicago until January 15, 2012. More details about the exhibit can be found online at