2023 Modernism Road Rally Tour

At Optima®, we are always excited to share unique architectural experiences that reflect our passion for design. So mark your calendars, Modern enthusiasts, we have some fantastic news for you! The second biennial Modernism Road Rally Tour of Homes is returning to celebrate the Mid Century Modern architectural legacy of Chicagoland. Launched in 2021, this biennial event takes place in different community areas of Chicagoland. This year’s edition will lead you through the captivating south suburban enclaves of Flossmoor and Olympia Fields.

The 2023 Modernism Road Rally Tour showcases homes designed by renowned midcentury architects such as Keck & Keck, Edward Dart, and Bertrand Goldberg, as well as architects like Edward Humrich, John McPherson, and John S. Townsend. Participants will have the opportunity to admire the exteriors and enjoy limited interior tours of select homes, offering an intimate glimpse into these architectural gems.

The event organizers have partnered with the Foundation for the Preservation of Flossmoor History for this year’s edition. A percentage of the proceeds will contribute to the restoration of the historic Wagner Building, which is scheduled to open in time for Flossmoor’s Centennial in 2024.

Conservatory Vintage & Vinyl, situated in the charming 1920s-era downtown Flossmoor, will serve as the event headquarters. After exploring the architectural marvels, participants can join the post-event party at the Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery, a former railroad stop transformed into a lively social hub.

Flossmoor, founded in 1924, experienced a construction slowdown during World War II, followed by rapid postwar development. Its neighboring community, Olympia Fields, started in 1913, primarily as golf cottages surrounding the famous Olympia Fields Country Club. Post-World War II, the legendary modernist subdivisions of Graymoor and Country Club Woods were developed, boasting numerous outstanding examples of Mid Century Modern architecture.

Participants can purchase tickets for the tour, post-tour party, and sculpture tour online. The event also offers a trolley shuttle service along the entire tour route on Saturday, included in the ticket price (reservation required at the time of ticket purchase). Event check-in will be available at Conservatory Vintage & Vinyl for all paid attendees on Friday, June 23, from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM, and Saturday, June 23, from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

The second biennial Modernism Road Rally Tour is an exciting opportunity for architecture enthusiasts to delve into the fascinating world of Mid Century Modern design in Chicagoland. At Optima®, we are delighted to share this event with you and hope you enjoy exploring the rich architectural heritage of Flossmoor and Olympia Fields. Don’t miss out on this unique experience, and be sure to reserve your tickets here in advance! 

Please note that there will be no walk-up ticket sales available.

The Architecture of Bertrand Goldberg

Chicago is home to a vast array of architectural diversity, from Modernism to Prairie School and beyond. Although no two city skyscrapers are the same, Marina City is one building that particularly stands out. Built by American architect Bertrand Goldberg, the industrial series of towers represent his unique mark on Chicago architecture. Today, we’re taking a closer look at Goldberg’s life and work.

Bertrand Goldberg presenting a model of Marina City; photo courtesy of BertrandGoldberg.org
Bertrand Goldberg presenting a model of Marina City; photo courtesy of BertrandGoldberg.org

Early Life and Architectural Beginnings

Born local to Chicago in 1913, Bertrand Goldberg left the US for Germany at the ripe young age of eighteen in 1932. There, he studied at the Bauhaus and worked at the small architectural office of Bauhaus director Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Like many others studying and working in Germany during that period, Goldberg eventually had to flee the country under mounting political pressure and civil unrest. After a brief stint in Paris, Goldberg returned to his hometown in Chicago to continue his career.

Prentice Women’s Hospital, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, in Chicago, IL
Prentice Women’s Hospital, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, in Chicago, IL

The Work of Bertrand Golberg

At only 23 years old, Goldberg opened his own architectural office in Chicago. He was most known for his innovative structural solutions to complex problems, with commissions that included designing an easily transportable structure for the North Pole chain of ice cream shops as well as many prefabricated projects and mobile vaccine laboratories for the US government. 

His work was always experimental, testing out ways to create unconventional forms through extremely conventional and mundane materials. His most popular project is Marina City, often referred to as the “corn cobs,” which stand out in sharp relief against the Chicago riverfront. 

Marina City is a mixed-use complex of five concrete towers, built in 1961-1964, that has continued to change and evolve over time. Goldberg’s original plan was complete with an office building, theater, public pedestrian plaza, an active rail line, a marina, an ice skating rink and a bowling alley. Though the rail line and skating rink are no longer standing, the theater remains, converted in the Chicago House of Blues venue.

The success and critical acclaim of Marina City inspired many of Golberg’s later structures, including River City in Chicago and several hospital structures across the country. Though Goldberg died in Chicago in 1977, he has built a lasting legacy and forever left his mark on the Chicago skyline.

person name goes here

Maintenance Supervisor

Glencoe, IL

    Acceptable file types: *.pdf | *.txt | *.doc, max-size: 2Mb