1945: Creativity and Crisis, Chicago Architecture and Design

Anyone who has ever been to Chicago has seen Bernard Goldberg's iconic Marina Towers from the early sixties. A current exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago describes how during WWII he centred his work on prefabricated structures for the military. He designed railway cars out of plywood that saved 20 tons of steel per car; trucks as penicillin labs; packing cases for bofors guns that turned into housing. Bruce Goff, famous for his idiosyncratic houses, fell in love with quonset huts and developed low-cost housing based on them. John Henning writes in the Wall Street Journal: "all of these civilian designs demonstrate how creative people can produce imaginative and useful objects in an era of crisis...We have grown comfortable- maybe too comfortable- with the notion that we can afford both guns and butter. It's especially instructive, therefore, to see what could be achieved when the very survival of our parents and grandparents depended on making do with far less". ::Art Institute of Chicago