Bertrand Goldberg, the Entrepreneur

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 »


Promotional materials for (clockwise from top) Unishelter prefabricated housing, Standard Houses Corporation, and Unicel plywood freight car

Bertrand Goldberg was a creative entrepreneur and established a number of business relationships that operated alongside his architectural practice. Typically in the form of partnerships or corporations, these ventures were formed for unique purposes, such as promoting a specific activity or project, with little continuation beyond the completed project. Among the most significant was Standard Houses Corporation. Formed in 1939 with fellow architect Gilmer Black, Standard Houses designed, built, and developed prefabricated homes from 1939 until 1942. Goldberg also organized Standard Fabrication, Incorporated, to design, manufacture, and market prefabricated bathrooms in 1946.

From 1949 to 1953 Goldberg served as design consultant for the Pressed Steel Car Company and developed the Unicel plywood boxcar and an innovative housing project called Unishelter. Also in the early 1950’s Goldberg worked with Arthur Rubloff to market privately built public housing, leading to building Drexel Home and Gardens project. He proposed a marina and development project in Florida, and was integral in the development of Astor Tower and Marina City, serving as architect and more. In the 1980’s he was a partner in the development of River City.

Maxim's Restaurant

Interior view of Maxim’s de Paris, a restaurant owned and operated by Bertrand’s wife Nancy Goldberg. Located inside Astor Tower, Maxim’s was designed as a recreation of the famous Parisian restaurant.

As Goldberg’s office grew in the 1960’s , mechanical/electrical engineering, computerized engineering and CAD work, and reproduction services were established as separate corporations titled Environmental Engineering Corp., Computer Services, Inc., and Copy Corp. In general, these were underwritten by BGA until closed c. 1990.

On a personal basis Goldberg was involved with his wife Nancy in Maxim’s de Paris, a prestigous haute-cuisine restaurant which she owned and ran in Chicago from 1963 until 1982.