Marina Towers​: The first circular apartment buildings in history

Skyline Architecture_ Marina Towers- Chicago
One of the most iconic towers in the skyline of Chicago is the Marina City complex. Did you know they were the first circular apartment buildings in history?

At Skyline Architecture we were very lucky to know somebody who lived there, so we will now show you first hand everything we learned about this innovative design.
Marina City is a 65-story mixed use residential and commercial building. Built between 1960 and 1967 at a time when Chicagoans were fleeing to the suburbs, the hugely ambitious project was Goldberg’s collaborative attempt at urban revitalization, as he called it, “a city within a city.”
marinatowers_virginiaduran_0Situated beside the main branch of the Chicago River and really close to Trump Tower, Marina City complex was made by two identical towers.​
The building complex, with its iconic corn cob towers, has identical floor plans.  It was designed as a self-contained town, full of residential and commercial units. Marina City was part of an effort to reintroduce downtown Chicago as an attractive place to live. It is actually a complex of five structures: two residential towers (65 stories each, with the first 18 stories reserved for parking), an office building (10 stories), and a theatre building all standing upon a large commercial platform. Its total height is 587 feet (179m).
Chicago Daily News Image: Corn Shaped Towers
Amazing views from its rooftop – Aqua Tower on the right​
Views from the other side of the rooftop – Hancock Tower on the left
Standard Studio – Panoramic from its balcony looking insidevirginiaduranblog_choe1
Amazing Skyline views of West Chicago at night
virginia duran blog_marina towers
This are the same views during sunset
Each tower contains more than four hundred apartments and a continuous, upward-spiralling ramp of parking spaces. The circle gave the highest ratio of usable floor space to exterior skin.
Marina City is notable in that it is the first building in the United States to be constructed with tower cranes.
The structure is composed by a central reinforced concrete core (where the elevators are) and a radial disposure of the beams. This is very symbolic because to Goldberg, this point of union was exactly where the core structure was: with the elevators, the meeting point.

virginia duran blog_marina towers- floor planGeneral Floor Plan
virginia duran blog_marina towers- floor plan
One bedroom apartment

Surprisingly, some of the apartments still preserve its original furniture. The kitchen, for example, feels like a real 1960’s space. A very unique vintage look that now rises the value and appreciation for those units.

Lay down, relax, grab a beer, enjoy the views….. definitively a priceless building for architecture lovers. Wanna join?
Enjoy your Marina City experience and feel free to share your stories with us! Safe travels Skyliners!!



2 thoughts on “Marina Towers​: The first circular apartment buildings in history

  1. Pingback: St. Patricks Day in Chicago | Skyline Architecture Blog

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