The Art Institute of Chicago has organized a landmark exhibition exploring the work of Bertrand Goldberg (1913-1997), one of the most innovative modern American architects. On view from September 17, 2011 through January 15, 2012 in the Modern Wing’s Architecture and Design Galleries (283-285), Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention is the first comprehensive retrospective of the architect’s work, featuring more than 100 original drawings, models, and photographs, as well as significant examples of his rarely-shown graphic and furniture design. Long recognized for his seminal contributions to the built environment of Chicago, most notably his groundbreaking design for Marina City (1959-67), this exhibition showcases his progressive vision, dramatic architectural forms, and inventive engineering with a wide range of built and experimental projects. As a tribute to Goldberg’s career, the Art Institute has specially commissioned a stunning installation by John Ronan Architects and graphic design firm Studio Blue.
Born in 1913 in Chicago, Goldberg began studying architecture in 1930 at Harvard College. In 1932, he moved to Germany to take courses at the Bauhaus in Dessau, before relocating to Berlin to apprentice in the office of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. After his return to the United States in 1933, Goldberg worked for Chicago Modernist George Fred Keck while studying engineering at the Armour Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology). Goldberg established his own firm in 1937 with a range of innovative work in housing and industrial design before devoting his practice to large-scale urban projects. His architectural achievements were recognized with numerous professional awards: in 1966, Goldberg was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, and in 1985 he was awarded the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. During his lifetime, his work served as a touchstone for a generation of international architects and critics including Reyner Banham, the Japanese Metabolist group, and members of the British architectural collective, Archigram. Today, Goldberg’s pioneering cross-disciplinary approach resonates with the diverse practices of contemporary architects and designers.
Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention draws on the important holdings of the Art Institute’s Bertrand Goldberg Collection and Archive, which includes more than 30,000 drawings and models spanning the architect’s career from the 1930s to the 1990s. This rich archival collection was given to the Art Institute in 2002 by the Goldberg family, and includes such seminal projects as Marina City, River City (1972-89), and the Health Sciences Center in Stony Brook, New York (1965-76). This work is complemented by early student Bauhaus drawings borrowed from the Harvard Art Museums and furniture from the Goldberg family’s private collection, which makes its public debut in this exhibition.Follow @arquitectonico