Throughout his mature career, Bertrand Goldberg focused on architecture for urbanism, a phenomenon that he believed was a symbol of the human race’s need for “exuberant self-expression.” Beyond symbolism, however, he was pragmatic about the pressing needs of the modern city and urban developments throughout the country, from industrial centers in the Midwest to large cities on the East Coast. Following the great success of Marina City, Goldberg was commissioned to design ever more elaborate versions of his multiuse, high-rise apartment complex in Denver, Philadelphia, Boston, and Detroit, where his project, had it been realized, would have been built alongside Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer’s renowned Lafayette Park.
In 1966 Goldberg’s practice moved in a new direction, with his detailed study of historic preservation and urban planning for Burns-Jackson, an economically depressed neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio. The architect’s ambitious goal of sustainable development for Burns-Jackson fused the restoration of historic houses with the creation of new retail buildings, civic institutions, and high-rise apartments to increase neighborhood density and economic stability. This interest in improving rather than replacing existing neighborhoods led to Goldberg’s partnership in the nonprofit organization City Venture in the late 1970s (with the computer company Control Data Corp.) in order to bring job opportunities and physical improvements to declining city centers. Chicago was always Goldberg’s primary inspiration, however, and he produced a remarkable number of studies for mixed-use projects for the city throughout his career, from fashionable residential towers for the lakefront to the futuristic 150-story Sky-Tri.
Bertrand Goldberg. Burns-Jackson Community Redevelopment, Dayton, OH, Site-Plan Sketch, 1966. The Art Institute of Chicago, Archive of Bertrand Goldberg, gift of the Goldberg Family, RX23664/16.16.