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World Trade Center architecture firm returns to Detroit

Minoru Yamasaki with a model of Manhattan and the WTC buildings.
Archives of Michigan
Minoru Yamasaki with a model of Manhattan and the WTC buildings.

The firm of famed Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki is returning to the city, seven years after it was forced to close.

The Seattle-born architect lived in Detroit from 1945 until his death in 1986. He launched his own firm in 1950, which survived him until 2009 when it closed due to financial problems.

Yamasaki’s most famed work is the World Trade Center twin towers, although he contributed many buildings to the Detroit skyline, including the One Woodward office tower.

The state of Michigan owns Yamasaki’s WTC designs. Click here to see the photos.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Yamasaki Inc. is opening an office in Detroit this month. The firm is expected to hire about a dozen people to start, including several that worked for the firm before its 2009 closure.

Robert Szantner had worked for Yamasaki starting in 1984, staying at the firm until its closing. He later bought the firm's intellectual property and name out of receivership.

He told the Free Press that “we’re really excited about the resurgence of the city and want to be able to provide those services that we’re well-known for in other markets."

More from the Detroit Free Press:

“[Yamasaki] was among the community of Mid-century modernists in Michigan in the 1950s and '60s that included Eero Saarinen, the Herman Miller Co. of furniture designers, and many more. Their work collectively blended the clean lines and efficiency of modern design with the warmth and artistic creativity of the arts and crafts movement. Yamasaki's personal mantra was "serenity, surprise, and delight," something he tried to create in each of his buildings.”

Yamasaki Inc. will open an office in Detroit’s Fisher Building later this month.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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