Bertrand Goldberg, the Architect

Abridged Chronology

1913 born, Chicago, IL
attends Harvard College, Cambridge, MA
attends Bauhaus (Berlin), works in Mies' office
works in Chicago architectural offices of George and Fred Keck, Paul Schweiker, and Howard Fisher
1937 opens his own office, starts single family residences - Abrams, Mullins, Ancell.
1938 North Pole Ice Cream Store, Clark Maple Gasoline Station, Jacobs residence
Standard Houses in Maryland and Illinois with Gilmer Black
1946 Marries Nancy Florsheim. Prefab bathrooms. Establishes Standard Fabrication Co.
Consulting architect to Pressed Steel Car Co. for Unicel and Unishelter
1952 Snyder House, NY
1954 Kansas City Apartment Project Award, Progressive Architecture
Drexel Gardens, IL
Michael Todd's Cinestage Theatre, IL
1960 Marina City construction starts
1963 Astor Tower completed. Maxim's de Paris opens. Brenneman School, IL. ABC Tower proposal, NY.
1964 Marina City Office Building completed
Health Science Center, Stonybrook, NY
1966 Master plan, Affiliated Hospital Center, MA.
1967 Hilliard Center, public housing, IL. Elgin Hospital, IL. West Palm Beach Auditorium, FL. Marina City Theater completed.
1969 San Diego Theater proposal, CA
St. Joseph Hospital, WA
1970 Trinidad Master Plan, Venezuela
1974 Prentice Women's Hospital, IL, and Dana Cancer Center, MA
1979 Night World proposal, FL
1982 Good Samaritan Hospital, AZ
Providence Hospital, AL
1983 Brigham and Women's Hospital, MA
1984 Floating Worlds's Fair, Chicago, IL
1986 River City, IL
1992 Wright College, IL
1997 deceased, Chicago, IL

For more information see the Project Timeline »


Goldberg presenting a model of Marina City

Bertrand Goldberg was an architect with strong interests in individual solutions of unique character and innovation. Two themes may be traced throughout practice during his long career. First, his early designs were highly personal and, especially in the residential work, attentive to individual spatial needs. The other theme concerns a serious and inventive investigation into materials and construction issues. These two themes return in Goldberg’s later work, albeit in different guises.

While his early commercial and industrial projects were noticed for their creative solutions to new problems, they were not easily adaptable to large-scale industrial concerns of the time. By the early 1950s Goldberg was searching for new directions for his practice. At the end of this decade, he had developed two large commissions, first Astor Tower and then Marina City, the crowning and central achievement of his career.


Typical bed tower floor plan for Prentice Women’s Hospital

After Marina City, Goldberg’s interests were projected into larger social and political concerns, culminating in a concentration on progressive planning. The office built the Hilliard Homes in the mid-1960’s as public housing and offered many schemes for further mixed-use residential complexes, only one of which, River City, was finally built in Chicago in the 1980s. His deep interest in the programmatic was evidenced by his significant work in both education and healthcare, with numerous schools and hospitals designed and built in the three decades of work following Marina City. In almost all these projects, the investigation of his firm into construction technology resolved primarily with use of concrete, both in refinements of form and structure made possible by the structural use of this material.