Bertrand Goldberg was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1913 to a family of long-time Chicagoans. After studying at the Harvard Architecture School, the Bauhaus and the Armour Institute of Technology (now IIT), Goldberg worked briefly for both George Fred Keck and Paul Schweikher before obtaining his license in 1937. Upon receiving several small residential commissions, Goldberg established an office in Chicago, working intermittently with associates Leland Atwood (Atwood and Goldberg, 1949-1952) and Gilmer V. Black.

Steeped in the ahistorical design philosophy of the Bauhaus but equally inspired by the tenets of secular humanism, Goldberg saw parallels between the Renaissance and the early 20th century, the latter of which he believed brought a "rebirth of humanism"* to western art and architecture. Goldberg's "humanist architecture" was characterized by the use of simple, natural materials, a lack of artifice, and a fervent belief in the economic advantages of cutting-edge technological innovation. Above all, architecture must be responsive to sociological developments in the world—a "yeasty, living development of a social statement" with an unequivocal obligation to improve the state of the human condition.

  1. North Pole Ice Cream Store, River Forest, IL, 1938 (with Gilmer V. Black, associate architect). "Space on Wheels" typescript.
  2. North Pole Ice Cream Store, River Forest, IL, 1938. Exterior night view, c.1938.
  3. North Pole Ice Cream Store, River Forest, IL, 1938. View of store collapsed into "mobile" mode, September 1, 1938.
  4. Clark/Maple Gas Station, Chicago, IL, 1938. Exterior view, c.1938.
  5. Mullen, Thomas H., Residence, Evanston, IL, 1936-1937. Exterior view, c.1937.
  6. Experimental Rear Engine Automobile, 1938. Model view, 1938.
  7. Heimbach, Dr. Aaron B., Residence, Blue Island, IL, 1939-1940. Exterior view, c.1940.
  8. "Servant of Two Masters" theatrical costume design, 1936.
  9. Plywood bench, 1939.

* All quotes, unless otherwise attributed, from Oral History of Bertrand Goldberg, interviewed by Betty J. Blum, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1992.

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