Renovation of a two-bedroom unit in Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City complex to celebrate the space, quality of light, and views to the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and Chicago’s Loop

All photographs by Tom Harris Photography.


The MC06 project is our sixth renovation in Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City complex in Chicago.

Similar to our previous projects in the building, MC06 prioritizes key aspects of the original design by Goldberg such as its exposed structure and minimal color and material palette.

This two-bedroom unit had maintained the original layout except for the kitchen, where one wall of the galley kitchen had been removed, opening the kitchen to the living room. Previous owners had also removed the original metal cabinets in the kitchen and vanity areas as well as the original black tile flooring. They had additionally thickened certain walls, concealed structural elements, and added soffits in the kitchen, living room, and entry areas.

The renovation focused on two aspects. The first was the removal of non-original items such as soffits, cabinets, and extra thickness of walls. All the walls, doors, and frames were stripped of decades of paint and skim coated, highlighting the structural elements through the original reveals. The walls were returned to the original thickness thanks to the careful reconfiguration of electrical conduit paths. Original light fixtures were purchased and refinished to be installed in the entry areas and corridors. Additional millwork elements, such as baseboard and closet shelving, were recreated to match the original profiles and components. Balcony floors and railings were restored and repainted to standards required by the building’s landmark designation.

The second area that the project focused on was the new elements. The custom-designed kitchen and island use a dark touchless laminate, a modern take on one of the kitchen’s original materials. Solid colors were used to reference the original painted metal cabinets. New LED lighting above and below the cabinets, new quartz countertops and backsplash, and new appliances update the kitchen to modern standards. The vanity areas maintain their original layout while incorporating new quartz countertops and new custom-made cabinets detailed to match the kitchen design. Countertop and laminate materials match the ones used in the kitchen but with a different color palette. The new grey epoxy floor used throughout the unit unifies all the spaces as the original black tile floor had done.

Overall, these interventions respect the original spatial configuration of the two-bedroom unit while incorporating new custom-designed kitchen and vanity areas. The design celebrates the space, quality of light, and the east and southeast views to the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and Chicago’s Loop.

Photography by Tom Harris Photography.

Type: Architecture
Location: Chicago
Author: MAS Studio
Team: Iker Gil & Julie Michiels
General contractor: Artistic Construction
Custom Millwork: Navillus Woodworks
Flooring: MTH Industries
Light Fixtures: Andrew Neyer
Client: Private residence
Size: 1,250 square feet
Year: 2023
Status: Completed


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