Speaker highlights an appreciation for Minoru Yamasaki
Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki came to Detroit after the war ended and worked for Smith, Hinchman and Grylls as its chief designer. He designed the first modernist structure in downtown Detroit, the addition to the Federal Reserve Building. The plaza in front of the building is characteristic of his designs. Today, this building houses the offices of the Detroit Free Press. Yamasaki opened his own firm and initially had commissions for many homes and schools. The Unity Church in Bloomfield Hills, the Birmingham Bell Telephone building and Temple Beth El are among his designs. He is known for designing places of tranquility. In the 1950s, Wayne State University hired him to design the schools of education and business, the DeRoy auditorium and the McGregor Memorial Conference Center. The diamond-shaped Gothic arches of the McGregor Center and the surrounding reflecting pool were probably a result of the trip around the world that Yamasaki made in 1954. The architecture he experienced in Europe and Japan changed his perspective.