Architectural Abundance: You live in a……..Corncob?


Chicago is a mecca for the world’s finest architects.  I remember the first time I visited Chicago.  It was fascinating to me that so many buildings could be aesthetically opposite to one another and yet look symbiotic at the same time.

Two of my favorite buildings (well, they are identical) in the entire city are the buildings of Marina City.  These two buildings sit on the North bank of the Chicago River.  Bertrand Goldberg designed these two beauties in 1959; by 1964, they were completed.

There are several businesses at the base of each building.  As we go up, way up, there are 19 floors of exposed parking, and the rest of the 61 floors (save floor number 20 for laundry) are condominiums.

These round-shaped wonders are affectionately known to the locals as, “The Corncobs”.  Ah, yes, to be known by the rest of the city as sky-high vegetables.  What floor do you live on? Floor? Why, I live in Kernel #502 dontcha know (hhhmmppph……floor….really…..).   The picture below was taken by a friend of mine when we were on an architectural boat tour.

I know someone who has lived in one of “The Corncobs” since the early 1970’s and absolutely loves it.  I suppose if one has children and wanted to give them a ‘time-out’ in the corner, that would be a rather difficult task, given the buildings are round! “You, little Johnny, go have your time-out in the, um, well just run around in a few circles for a minute.”

With respect to parking, apparently (and the picture below seems to coincide with what I’ve heard on the streets!) you have to ‘back into’ the parking spaces.  Now, you are probably wondering if a car has ever decided to take a plunge into the Chicago River to test the waters, as it were.  I do believe this happened once; ah, but it was for a movie shot so I guess that counts only in the technical sense.

D65-310288 - © - Walter Bibikow

When “The Corncobs” are all decked out with butter, um, I mean at night with Christmas lights on, this is what they look like:

Marina Towers at night

Chicago’s famous, “House of Blues” is located at the bottom of one of “The Corncobs”.  Gee, I wonder what they sing about? Perhaps the theme song could be something like this:

“Oh I’m stuck in the bottom of a corncob,

And I don’t know what to do,

Oh yeah I’m stuck in the bottom of a corncob,

No, butter, no salt, that’s why I’m feeling oh so blue.”

If you are ever in Chicago, head downtown and ask anyone where “The Corncobs” are located.  No one will point you to the supermarket, that is for sure.

  12 comments for “Architectural Abundance: You live in a……..Corncob?

  1. February 10, 2014 at 11:02 am

    A landmark where one cannot get lost. Corncob!


    • February 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      *LOL* Isn’t that funny! They really are beacons for downtown Chicago! 🙂


  2. February 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Corncob! snicker snicker


    • February 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      *LOL* The person I know who lives in one of these buildings said she loves living in such a unique place! I’d always get hungry thinking of corn on the cob if I lived there! *LOL*


      • February 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm

        Pass a really REALLY big stick of butter 🙂


      • February 10, 2014 at 6:51 pm

        *LOL* Oh yes, and because the Chicago River is below, they can bring it in by boat! 🙂


  3. sunshinebright
    February 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Why do the cars need to back in to the spaces? It’s a good thing I don’t live there; I find it difficult to back into a parking space without going into the space diagonally. It must be very difficult to furnish an apartment in the corn cobbs. Every thing needs to be round. Hmmm. Now a round bed might be interesting. Rounded edges. No headboard; no footboard. How would someone know which side to get in on? Really enjoyed your blog, Cher. 🙂


    • February 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      That is a very good question! I am going to try and find out and I’ll let you know if I do! *LOL* Yes, a round bed! Hhhhmmmm, wait, I agree with you; how would you know which side to get in on if there are no sides? Oh my goodness, we have started a quandary, haven’t we Carol? *LOL* Cher xo


      • sunshinebright
        February 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

        If anyone can solve this quandary, I’m sure you’re the one to do so!! Ha.


      • February 11, 2014 at 7:12 am

        *LOL* Awh, thank you, Carol! I appreciate that! I’ll sure try!! 🙂 Cher xo


  4. February 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I LOVE those buildings!!! I never knew they were called the corncobs! I was in Chicago working for the summer + I really regret not taking the architectural boat tour!


    • February 11, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Aren’t they great? If you get a chance to return to Chicago for a visit, you must take the architectural boat tour! It’s fascinating to see these incredible buildings from a different perspective! I’ll be posting some more pics soon! 🙂


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