River City II

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  • view in atrium looking upwards view in atrium looking upwards
  • view from west, with marina on left view from west, with marina on left
  • River City 2 module layout River City 2 module layout
  • unit plans unit plans
  • River City 2 plan River City 2 plan
  • elevation study elevation study
  • River City 2 atrium, called River Road River City 2 atrium, called River Road
  • River City 2 elevation River City 2 elevation
  • River City 2, overall proposal River City 2, overall proposal
  • River City 2 unit plans River City 2 unit plans
  • River City 1A, perspective study of marina, retail center and tower River City 1A, perspective study of marina, retail center and tower

River City II was the one part of the larger River City plan that was constructed. It was part of larger thinking and planning along the south branch of the Chicago River from Harrison Street to Roosevelt. Goldberg had started planning River City in the early 1970's as a more radical proposal with a number of high-rise residential towers, grouped in "triads". As it became apparent this would not be permitted, an alternate scheme, was developed. There were several iterations, involving towers and a snake-like mid-rise housing group. It was a portion of this "snake" that was ultimately completed as River City II.

River City II was a mid-rise housing complex, containing 446 residences, including one and two bedroom apartments, two and three bedroom town homes, and three and four bedroom penthouses. Unlike Marina City, the units did not feature balconies, but did have clerestories on their "inner side" to gain light from the interior atrium. The curvilinear structure, eight to fifteen stories in height, featured a private interior passageway called "the River Road," a very special skylighted atrium modeled after European streetscapes. The project was cast in place concrete, unusual for the time and the very large and long sklyight over River Road was made of glass block held in thin concrete ribbing. The living units were constructed over a four-story base that contained 250,000 square feet of offices, shopping, a conference center, restaurants, a health-club, educational centers, a private outdoor park, and a seventy boat marina. Originally designed as rental housing, the owners of the project later converted it to condominiums.

River City represents the last built iteration of Goldberg's urban housing projects. From the origins in more complex and larger urban planning, it was built as a stand-alone complex ahead of its time on the south side of the loop. The marina along the river was a more outgoing version than originally found at Marina City; and the River Road atrium is probably Goldberg's most developed and mature interior spaces.

Proposals for extending the "snake" were not realized. A downturn in the real estate market as River City was finished made extensions unlikely. However, there were a number of proposals put forward by the office, the most interesting one being River City 1A with a tower, cone and snake c. 1984.