The Biography of Chicago’s Marina City

The Changing Face Of Chicago (1963)

Newsreel film by British Pathé shot in Chicago when Marina City was still being constructed. “The twin corncob-like structures of...Marina City have been called Chicago’s most amazing since the great Ferris Wheel of the 1893 fair,” declares narrator Peter Roberts, referring to the World’s Columbian Exposition. “Beneath the scalloped balconies of its apartments spiral the ramps of garages to house the tenant’s automobiles.”

Goldstein (1964)

The first of many films shot at Marina City and the first film by Philip Kaufman, who would go on to direct Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Henry & June. Goldstein was a 1964 low-budget black-and-white film about a prophetic old man. It won the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique award at Cannes Film Festival in May 1964 and was released in the United States on May 7, 1965. Scenes were filmed inside an apartment at Marina City with some faces you may recognize.

Mickey One (1965) exterior

Around May 1964, scenes were filmed at Marina City for Mickey One, a surreal, freewheeling drama released on September 27, 1965 by Columbia Pictures. Arthur Penn, whose work includes The Miracle Worker, Bonnie and Clyde, and Alice’s Restaurant, directed it. The film starred Warren Beatty as a nightclub comic fleeing the Detroit Mob for Chicago. (Yes, you read that correctly.) It is considered a cult classic today. This is the exterior Marina City scene from Mickey One featuring Warren Beatty as Mickey, Alexandra Stewart as Jenny, noted Japanese actor Kamatari Fujiwara (1905-1985) as “The Artist,” and the Chicago Fire Department.

Mickey One (1965) interior

The interior Marina City scene from Mickey One with Warren Beatty and Hurd Hatfield (1917-1998) as Mr. Castle.

This is Marina City (1965)

In 1965, Arthur P. Mandler brought his wind-up Bolex H-16 film camera and wife to Marina City and produced for Portland Cement Association the most detailed historical account of the construction of Marina City. When the 19-minute film was professionally restored in 2010, its quality and value were even more in focus. The film is narrated by former WGN Chicago radio announcer Walt Newton.

Marina City does its own stunts for 2006 Allstate TV commercial

Nine angles of a stunt performed and captured on October 15, 2006, for a television commercial for Allstate Insurance Company. A 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass is propelled by air cannon off the 17th floor of the west tower parking ramp at Marina City and into the Chicago River. The ad was created by Leo Burnett Worldwide, the Chicago-based agency with headquarters across the street from Marina City.

Bertrand Goldberg: Marina City

This video was created by The Art Institute of Chicago to promote an installation in its Modern Wing, Past Forward: Architecture and Design at the Art Institute. Architecture critic, photographer, and lecturer Lee Bey discusses the urban and social issues that influenced the design of Marina City, along with Alison Fisher, Associate Curator of Architecture and Design at The Art Institute. Architects and Marina City residents Iker Gil and Julie Michiels share their thoughts on the architecture of Marina City and the types of people who live there today. The 4:29 video includes both old and new footage of Marina City, and historical images supplied by

Marina City re-imagined as more environmentally friendly (2010)

Senior interior design thesis project of Cameron Wudtke. Said Wudtke in 2010, “I renovated Marina City’s structure and interiors. The existing structure has balconies springing from 16 radial edges. Because I designed larger units, a four-bedroom condo would contain eight balconies. I enclosed one-third of the balconies in glass and another third with living green walls with a thin clerestory [upper part of a series of windows] above. In doing so, I afforded additional square footage, more direct natural lighting, and better views of the city to the units. The living green wall on the exterior of the building offsets carbon dioxide emissions created from the building’s renovation and reduces the urban heat island effect.”

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