Towers of Sin

Other
Sunday, February 8, 2009
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Something something (jolyn27/Flickr)

Sex in the "City within a City." (jolyn27/Flickr)

Like all-dutiful journalists, I read Romenesko each day (it’s like ArchNewsNow, but with media links), mostly for the navel-gazing and doomsaying that characterize print media reporting on print media. And so it was with great surprise that I actually found some architectural news on the site Friday, namely that Chicago’s Marina City, in addition to being one of the city’s most famous buildings, is also one of its most notorious, so much so that one of the tenants has launched an online newspaper about the lurid towers, Marina City News.

Play that funky architecture, Wilco. (last.fm)

Play that funky architecture, Wilco. (last.fm)

Second only to Mies’s 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, at least architecturally speaking, Marina City was designed in 1959 by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg, and is perhaps best known to those unacquainted with the city’s skyline from its place on the cover the of equally classic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by local boys Wilco. I certainly had no idea Marina City was so scandal-ridden, which only adds to the mystique of the lovelorn album–Was Jeff Tweedy in the know? Perhaps a resident? John Denver was.

Or so reports the Chicago Tribune in its piece about the Marina City News. But, more to the point:

Towering over the Chicago River, the corn-cob-shaped Marina City towers have stood for 44 years as icons of the architectural daring that make Chicago a world city.

But inside the 61-story buildings is enough scandal and intrigue to fill a daily newspaper, or so the producers of marinacityonline.com believe.

The Web site says it is the source for news inside the self-described “City within a City”—a 2,000-resident microcosm of Chicago. There’s the dentist brought down in a federal prostitution bust, power plays rivaling City Hall, and such quirky denizens as the colorful-suit guy who dances for passing tour boats.

“We’ve got it all: sex, crime, corruption,” said Michael Michalak, a real estate broker inside Marina City who is the site’s sole advertiser. “But it’s also a great place to live.”

Rooms with a few... of the forbidden. (24gotham/Flickr)

Rooms with a few... of the forbidden. (24gotham/Flickr)

While Romenesko and other media watchers are no doubt more interested amorphous First Amendment issues surrounding the site–its lone editor has been fined for operating it and barred from recording semi-public board meetings–we are more interested in the detailed intrigues of an architectural icon.

After all, there are info sites and fan sites galore about the Empire State Building and Guggenheim Bilbao, but how many of them have their own dedicated gossip rags? We’re adding this one to the bookmarks.

One Response to “Towers of Sin”

  1. [...] is speechless Linkage – Towers of Sin click to jump Posted 02.28.2009 | Tagged [...]

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