Collection by Ian Spula

A Gut Renovation for a Retro Chicago Apartment in the Iconic Marina City Towers


Space Architects + Planners overhauled a Chicago apartment to prioritize views of the city.

The twin towers of Marina City, designed by modernist master Bertrand Goldberg, are closing in on landmark protection—something most Chicagoans probably assumed they already had. When Jean Dufresne of Space Architects + Planners embarked on a gut renovation of a Loop- and lake-facing two-bedroom unit for a new owner. The space presented as it did upon the towers’ completion in 1964: shag carpeting, a mint green bathroom, metal cabinets, and laminate counters being the currency of the day. “It all sounds cool and retro, but it had not been maintained,” says Dufresne. “The view, now that was amazing.” The client, a single dad, wanted an exhilarating space that fully capitalized on that vantage point.

Often likened to corncobs or honeycombs, each Marina City tower has 19 levels of open-air garage parking beneath 40...
A galley kitchen was opened to the living room during the renovation—the new combo space fills out much of the space...
The all-new eat-in kitchen has an island with a Silestone quartz surface, comfortably seating six.
The unit has virtually no right angles, and the spread of furniture is equally freeform.
The master bedroom was enlarged in the renovation and its circulation altered, again to prioritize views and natural...
Ebony tile and artificial lighting take over in the master bathroom, but even with the door shut, the sightline carries...
On a high floor in the east tower, this unit takes up two-and-a-half kernels on the cob.