About

Michigan Modern™ is a project of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a division of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

 

The Michigan Modern Project

Our goal through the Michigan Modern project is to:

  • Define Michigan’s role in the development of American modernism.
  • Rebrand Michigan based on its outstanding design heritage, which is less known but just as influential as its manufacturing heritage.
  • Develop a cultural heritage tourism initiative based on Michigan’s modern resources that will draw national and international attention.
  • Use the continued vitality of Michigan’s design industry to attract young, talented people to the state.
  • Raise awareness of the significance of modern resources and encourage their preservation and reuse.

Michigan Modern™ began in 2008 after when the SHPO received a Preserve America grant from the National Park Service.  The purpose of the project was to document and promote Michigan’s architectural and design heritage from 1940 to 1970. However, it soon became apparent that Michigan’s contributions to the development of Modernism began much earlier, just after the turn of the twentieth century.

The SHPO worked with consultants Eric Hill and Rob Yallop of Lord, Aeck & Sargent Architects (LAS) of Ann Arbor to develop a historic context narrative for Modernism in Michigan.  LAS surveyed and documented 100 of Michigan’s most significant modern resources. They prepared National Register of Historic Places nominations for eight homes that Michigan architects designed for themselves and their families. Four oral histories of period architects were recorded. The information has been incorporated into the Michigan Modern™ website.

In addition, SHPO is developing National Historic Landmark (NHL) nominations for three outstanding Michigan Modern™ resources: General Motors Technical Center in Warren by Eero Saarinen; Lafayette Park in Detroit by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; and the McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State University in Detroit by Minoru Yamaskai. As part of the project, the SHPO has encouraged representatives in local communities to develop regional organizations dedicated to promoting their modern resources. 

We will continue to research, document, and promote Michigan’s Modern™ heritage for years to come. 

Overview

Michigan’s Modern Legacy

In Michigan Industry and design intertwined creating an epicenter of modern design. Michigan’s visionaries touched nearly every aspect of American life. Detroit’s automobile manufacturers didn’t just produce automobiles, they styled them and they became part of the American dream.  The state’s furniture makers revolutionized the American home and office. Michigan architects Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki designed buildings that defined an era.  Michigan’s industry, prosperity, and educational institutions combined to create a synergy that produced some of the world’s best design talent. 

This is the story of Michigan’s outstanding contributions to Modern design.
 

Albert Kahn and Industrial Architecture

Albert Kahn was a pioneer in modern industrial architecture.  His revolutionary work inspired the world’s great European Modern architects— like Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—and was a foundation for the International style. Kahn began experimenting with the use of a reinforced concrete as a building material in 1901.  His brother Julius, an engineer, developed an improved concrete reinforcing system which Albert first used in the design and construction of the University of Michigan Engineering School building in 1903. The first industrial application of the system was in the construction of Plant #10 for the Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit in 1905. The use of reinforced concrete enabled Albert Kahn to create large fireproof buildings with interior space minimally interrupted by support columns and broad ribbons of windows that let in plenty of natural light.  In 1907 Kahn designed the Highland Park Plant for automobile manufacturer Henry Ford in which the assembly line was introduced. It was the start of a long association between Kahn and Ford. In 1914 Kahn designed Ford’s River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. The use of glass walls on a steel frame for the Glass Plant at the Rouge was groundbreaking.  According to A Brief Overview of the Professional Accomplishments of Albert Kahn, FAIA, “this project carried industrial architecture forward and is as revolutionary as any other building of the twentieth century.”  The elegance of Kahn’s design of the Half-Ton Truck Assembly plant for the Chrysler Corporation in 1938 was just as significant as its technological innovation in the use of cantilevered bents.

Kahn’s early industrial buildings, most notably the plants he designed for automobile manufacturer Henry Ford, were a visual representation of Louis Sullivan’s idea that in architecture “form follows function.”  The clean, spare lines and minimal ornamentation of Kahn’s buildings were shockingly original for their time. Though Kahn’s work was expansive and included many architectural styles and building types, it was the technological originality and simplicity of design of his industrial buildings that made him a trailblazer in modern design.
 

Julius Kahn and the Trussed Concrete Steel Company

Julius Kahn was an engineer that worked with his brother architect Albert Kahn for over a decade in pioneering the use of reinforced concrete as a building material. He patented the Kahn Bar System, a new method of reinforcing concrete in 1903, at a time when this technology was in its infancy.  Albert and Julius Kahn formed the Trussed Concrete Steel Company (later called Truscon) in Detroit in 1903 to market the Kahn Bar System. Their brother Moritz was placed in charge of marketing.  A company brochure indicates that by 1904 the Trussed Concrete Steel Company had franchises all across America from New York City to San Francisco and had produced more than four thousand building drawings for customers through its Detroit office. In 1907 the Trussed Concrete Steel Company opened an office in London followed shortly by offices in Berlin and Denmark. It also had agents in Canada, Asia, and South America. According to Jeffrey Cody in Exporting American Architecture, “Truscon’s system—because of its standardized, adaptable, durable, and well-marked components—became the pre-eminent system exported by Americans between the World Wars.” (p. 38) Frank Lloyd Wright used the Kahn Bar System in the construction of the Imperial Hotel in Japan in 1910. By the 1920s the Trussed Concrete Steel Company had franchises on five continents and had spread the concepts of industrial design pioneered by Albert Kahn worldwide.  

The University of Michigan School of Architecture

The University of Michigan (U of M) established its architectural school in 1907 and hired architect Emil Lorch as its first director.  Born in Detroit and trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lorch had taught architectural drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1899 until 1901, an exciting time in the city’s architectural history. Frank Lloyd Wright had just opened his own practice and was sharing office space in the Steinway Building with a group of young architects that became known as the Prairie school. In search of a new American architectural style, they questioned the traditional Beaux Arts methods that dominated American architecture at the time.  It was during this period that Emil Lorch adapted an art education method developed by Arthur Dow and Denman Ross to architectural education. Known as Pure Design it introduced architecture students to the interrelationship of shape, space, and color in design as opposed to the Beaux Arts method, which was based on copying classical styles. Lorch promoted Pure Design through lectures at professional architecture organization meetings around the country. One historian directly credits the design of Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois, to Frank Lloyd Wright’s application of Lorch’s Pure Design theories. Lorch was head of the architecture program at the University of Michigan from 1907 to 1940. During that time he created an architecture education program that embodied the revolutionary ideas of Chicago’s Prairie school architects and was unique in American architectural education.

In the 1920s Lorch began acquainting his students with the ideas of the European modernists by bringing well known architects to the university as visiting professors.  The Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen was the first, arriving in 1922, followed by Knud Lönberg-Holm and Eric Mendelsohn. Lorch’s former student, Joseph Hudnut, a native of Big Rapids, Michigan, became one of America’s most influential architecture educators when he was appointed dean of the newly established Harvard Design School in 1937. Following in Lorch’s footsteps, he brought Bauhaus architects Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer to Harvard. 

After Lorch’s retirement his replacement, Wells Bennett, continued to provide a non-traditional learning environment at the architecture school by hiring lecturers with a focus on Modernism.  Bennett brought in architect William Muschenheim, a New York architect who had studied under Peter Behrens and been included in Philip Johnson’s 1932 exhibition Rejected Architects.  Muschenheim was a member of the Congrès Internationale d’Architect Moderne (CIAM), an international society of architects organized by Le Corbusier and twenty European modern architects in 1928. Another addition to the faculty under Bennett was Walter Sanders, former associate editor of the Architectural Record. Sanders’ contribution to the program was in the newly emerging field of architectural research.  He supported the creation of an Architectural Research Lab at the university where a steel framing system called Unistrut, developed by U of M alum Charles Attwood, was studied. The Unistrut system was used in the construction of Disneyland in 1954. 

In 1940 Bennett orchestrated a meeting on the University of Michigan campus of some of the world’s most prestigious Modern architects and designers.  Known as the Ann Arbor Conference its purpose was to address issues that architects would face in the future.  The stellar attendance list of the initial conference included Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eliel and Eero Saarinnen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Albert Kahn, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Joseph Hudnut, and  Alden Dow.  The Ann Arbor conferences continued annually for the next ten years.  The architecture school also instituted a guest lecture series that brought acclaimed architects, planners and designers to the university such as Richard Neutra, Paul Rudolph, Edmund Bacon, and Isamu Noguchi.

Because Emil Lorch did not follow the Beaux Arts architectural education tradition when developing the architectural program at the University of Michigan, Arthur Whitehead, former dean of the University of Southern California, noted it “became a School with a marked individuality and one which always maintained very high educational standards.” Some of its most notable graduates have been recognized internationally for their work .
  • Ralph Rapson, a native of Alma, Michigan, entered the University of Michigan in 1935 and graduated in 1938.  During that time he spent a week at Frank Lloyd Wrights’ Taliesin Fellowship.  He entered the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1938, during the school’s Golden Age when Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Weese, and Eero Saarinen were in attendance. In 1942 Rapson accepted the position of head of design at the New Bauhaus in Chicago, which he held until 1946. Rapson participated in the first Arts & Architecture magazine Case Study House program in Los Angeles designing house #4 in 1945.  He also designed for Knoll Furniture, his Rapson Rocker was a notable creation.  In 1951 Rapson was asked to design U.S. embassies in Stockholm and Copenhagen, the first United States embassies constructed in Europe after World War II. His modern designs for the embassies became a symbol of America and the future during Europe’s reconstruction.
  • Charles Edward Basset, of Port Huron, Michigan, graduated from the university in 1949 and received his master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1951. He worked in the office of Eero Saarinen from 1950 to 1955 when he joined the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM).  He was with SOM until 1980 and during that time was named head of design for the west coast office. In Bassett’s obituary for the New York Times, architectural critic Alan Temko stated “he was a leader in the efforts of younger modern architects to seek alternatives to the arid formulas of the International Style.”
  • Charles Willard Moore, born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, is known for his leading-edge condominiums at Sea Ranch in Northern California.  Constructed in 1965, they embodied an early “green” aesthetic and were influential in establishing a new trend in environmentally responsible architecture.
  • Louis Redstone immigrated to Detroit from Russia via Palestine. In 1925 he entered the University of Michigan, graduating in 1929. During the Depression he traveled to Palestine for work but returned to the United States and entered the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1940 studying urban design under Eliel Saarinen.  Redstone was a sculptor and artist as well as an architect, and often included art in his building designs. After World War II Redstone worked with Los Angeles-based architect Victor Gruen on a series of suburban shopping malls for the J.L. Hudson Company in Southeast Michigan. These landmark developments transformed the American landscape when the concepts were adopted nationwide.
  • Richard Pollman and Irving Palmquist were influential in promoting residential modern home plans in postwar America. In 1946 they published their first architectural plan book of twenty-six home plans called “Design for Convenient Living.”  Their company, Home Planners, Inc., went on to publish dozens of house plan books showcasing thousands of house plans for the common man. Architect Clifford N. Wright, a graduate of Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, joined the company in 1948. The Home Planners series included publications with names like 116 Homes for Town and Country Living, 223 Vacation Homes, and Trend Homes for the 1960s. The colorful, inexpensive plan books were sold by Sears, Roebuck and Company and were readily available in stores across the United States.  They were also frequently used by local developers and builders. As publisher Albert Whitman noted in the forward to 200 Homes All Types and Sizes published in 1954, “We cannot all afford the maximum in household luxuries. However we can all afford the best for whatever our budget may allow.” 
Many of Michigan’s most outstanding regional Modern architects were graduates of the University of Michigan including Kenneth Black in Lansing; Louis Kingscott in Kalamazoo; and David Oeming in Saginaw. Other significant architects included Eberle Smith who specialized in school architecture and Ralph Calder who designed for many of Michigan’s universities.

A group of University of Michigan architecture professors and graduates that practiced in Ann Arbor after World War II are today known as the Ann Arbor school.  Their work, which is almost exclusively residential, can be found throughout the city with concentrations in the Ann Arbor Hills area.  Some of the leading architects associated with this group were George Brigham, whose style was influenced by the work of Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra when he lived in southern California;  Robert Metcalf,  a former student of Brigham’s who went on to become the dean of the University of Michigan architecture school; Tivador Balogh; and David Osler.

One of the most well-known architects to serve on the University of Michigan faculty was Gunnar Birkerts.  He came from Latvia to Michigan in 1951 to work for Eero Saarinen on the General Motors Technical Center project and remained with the firm until 1955. That year he joined Yamasaki and Associates and was principal designer for the outstanding Reynolds Metals building in Birmingham, Michigan.  Birkerts established his own firm in 1959 and joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1961 where he taught until 1990.

Cranbrook Academy of Art

From the beginning of the turn of the twentieth century, Michigan was known as a manufacturing center for the automobile.  Henry Ford first applied assembly line production methods at the Highland Park Ford Plant in 1907. The plant produced the reliable Model T, which created a worldwide transportation revolution. In 1917 Ford instituted the five dollar a day wage that doubled the income of his workers and helped create a middle class that could afford to buy his automobiles. Bauhaus architects often cite the industrial buildings that architect Albert Kahn designed for Ford as inspiration.

Though Henry Ford introduced many innovative ideas to automobile manufacturing, he stubbornly refused to alter the design of the Model T—one of the most popular automobiles in the United States.  In 1927 the General Motors Corporation (GM), under the direction of Alfred Sloan, hired Stanford University graduate Harley Earl, to style one of its new cars. Earl had been working in Los Angeles customizing automobiles for Hollywood film stars.  The low slung body and rounded fenders of Earl’s design for the 1927 LaSalle differed radically from the square, upright body of Ford’s Model T.  Earl was also the first to introduce color to car design; Henry Ford had adhered to one color—black.  GM was so pleased with the success of Earl’s work on the LaSalle they created a Design and Colour Department and placed Earl in charge.  This was the first introduction of industrial design into the automobile industry. Harley Earl’s design work at GM impacted the automobile industry as much as Henry Ford’s innovations in manufacturing.  Earl made people want new cars. Owning a new car became part of the American dream.  Harley Earl was head of design at General Motors for thirty-one years, from 1927 to 1958.  During that time he introduced many innovations including chrome trim, built-in trunks, wraparound windshields, electric windows, the steering wheel horn, and the built-in car radio.  His joy of design caused him to introduce the concept of annual new car styles, which only later became known as “planned obsolescence.”

Earl’s success at GM caused Ford Motor Company president Edsel Ford to introduce industrial design at Ford when it purchased the Lincoln Motor Car Company in 1922. He worked directly on the body designs of the Lincoln line.  In 1927 Ford introduced its first massed produce automobile that was designed, the Model A. It became an American icon due its association with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1931 Edsel established the first design department at Ford Motor Company and hired Bob Gregorie as head designer. Edsel and Gregorie introduced the Lincoln Zephyr in 1936, which received a design excellence award from the Museum of Modern Art.

Manufacturers used design to create cars that Americans coveted and the popularity of the automobile soar after World War II.  The public’s love affair with the automobile transformed the American landscape. The heart of American life shifted from urban centers to the suburbs.  The years following World War II saw the introduction of interstate highways to accommodate the automobile and led to the flourishing of drive-ins, chain motels and restaurants, and shopping malls.

The post-World War II years were one of the most significant periods in Michigan history due in large part to the wealth of the state’s automobile industry.  The saying “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country” (though a misrepresentation of what General Motors president Charles Wilson actually said in 1953) acknowledges the power that the automobile industry held after the war.  The great wealth it generated enabled Michigan to become an industrial and cultural leader at a time when the United States was ascending as a world power. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Michigan automobile companies embraced modern architecture as a symbol of the future.  General Motors worked with architect Eero Saarinen to design a new technical center in Warren, Michigan, which would house its design department. Opened in 1954, it was hailed as an architectural masterpiece. The Ford Motor Company hired Skidmore Owings and Merrill to develop a new, modern world headquarters building in Dearborn in 1956. In addition, American automobile companies promoted a modern lifestyle ideal to customers through advertising that featured  modern residences with the latest automobile parked out front.

The Automobile and Modernism 

In Michigan Industry and design intertwined creating an epicenter of modern design. Michigan’s visionaries touched nearly every aspect of American life. Detroit’s automobile manufacturers didn’t just produce automobiles, they styled them and they became part of the American dream.  The state’s furniture makers revolutionized the American home and office. Michigan architects Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki designed buildings that defined an era.  Michigan’s industry, prosperity, and educational institutions combined to create a synergy that produced some of the world’s best design talent.

This is the story of Michigan’s outstanding contributions to Modern design.

The Herman Miller Furniture Company

The Herman Miller Furniture Company is one of the most influential furniture makers of the modern era. Originally a manufacturer of reproduction period furniture, the company hired industrial designer Gilbert Rohde in 1930.  Rohde developed a line of modern furniture for the company that was displayed in the Design for Living House at the Century of Progress in Chicago in 1933. Its popular success led Herman Miller president D. J. De Pree to declare Modernism the right direction for the company’s future. In 1934 under Rohde’s direction, the Herman Miller Company published its first catalog of entirely modern furniture. 

Rhode’s untimely death in 1944 forced De Pree to search for a new chief designer. He chose George Nelson, an architect and former editor of Architectural Forum magazine.  Nelson helped take the Herman Miller Company to new heights. Along with his own personal design accomplishments such as the Storage Wall Unit, the Ball Clock, and Marshmallow Sofa, Nelson brought dynamic designers to the company who created the iconic pieces that defined postwar Modernism:  Charles and Ray Eames and the Eames Lounge Chair and molded plywood and fiberglass chairs, Alexander Girard ‘s folk art-based textiles, and Isamu Noguchi’s biomorphic glass and wood coffee table.  

In 1964 Herman Miller revolutionized work space when it introduced the Action Office developed by Robert Probst. In its original concept, the Action Office provided a customized work environment by allowing the employee to choose individual components that made up the work cubicle.

Eero Saarinen

One of the most outstanding architects of the postwar era Eero Saarinen, the son of Cranbrook Academy of Art director Eliel Saarinen, made his mark when he took over the design of the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan after his father’s death. The ultramodern campus that Eero designed for General Motors was internationally acclaimed for its innovation and beauty.  As a result, Saarinen was sought after for projects of high visibility outside of Michigan – the John Deere & Company Headquarters in Moline, Illinois; Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.; the TWA terminal at La Guardia Airport in New York City; and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. In July 1956 Saarinen became one of the few architects ever to be featured on the cover of Time magazine.  Time claimed that the United States “now has a virtual monopoly of the best creative architectural talent of this century. . . And of the whole U.S. cast of modern architects none has a better proportioned combination of imagination, versatility, and good sense than Eero Saarinen.”

In addition to his great architectural works, Saarinen introduced innovative technical advances such as the use of neoprene gaskets used for automobile windshields in glass curtain walls, colorful glazes for brick, reflective glass, and the use of Cor-Ten steel.  He designed iconic furniture such as the Womb Chair and the Tulip Chair, which he developed for the Knoll Furniture Company.  The creativity and breadth of Saarinen’s work drew a stable of talented, young architects to his office. Many went on to have significant careers of their own including Edward Charles Bassett, Gunnar Birkerts, Glen Paulsen, Cesar Pelli, Warren Platner, Kevin Roche, Robert Venturi, and architectural photographer Balthazar Korab.

Minoru Yamasaki and New Formalism

Minoru Yamasaki came to Detroit in 1945 as chief designer for the architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman, and Grylls.  He later established his own office, Yamasaki and Associates based in Birmingham, Michigan. Initially, a follower of Mies van der Rohe and the International style, Yamasaki’s design aesthetic began to change in the late 1950s.  After completing a consulate commission in Japan for the U.S. State Department, Yamasaki took time to travel the world.  His exposure to the architecture of different cultures inspired him to incorporate more “humanistic” qualities into his designs. The delicate detail and human scale of his design for the McGregor Memorial Center at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1958 was a pivotal work that resulted in the naming of a new architectural style: New Formalism. This style is characterized by the use of simple building volume, a flat roof, the use of classic elements and proportions, the use of decorative screens and planters, and the incorporation of water features such as rectangular pools. Over the course of his career Yamasaki completed almost two hundred projects around the world. Projects in Michigan include the Reynolds Metals Building in Southfield and the Michigan Gas Company Building (One Woodward Avenue) in Detroit.  He is best known as the designer of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Like Eero Saarinen, Yamasaki’s office attracted a number of talented young architects who went on to great success in their own right such as Philip Meathe, William Kessler, and Gunnar Birkerts.

Alden Dow

The son of Henry Dow, founder of the Dow Chemical Company, Alden Dow attended the University of Michigan and Columbia University before becoming one of the first Taliesin Fellows under Frank Lloyd Wright in 1933.  Dow opened his own practice in Midland, Michigan, in 1934.  His home and studio, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark, is an outstanding example of organic architecture.  Dow was a prolific architect and designed a wide range of buildings throughout Midland, including churches, hospitals libraries, stores, a gas station, and numerous residences. He also designed public and university buildings throughout Michigan and the nation. Dow was named Architect Laureate of Michigan in 1983.

EXPORTS: Michiganians who Influenced Modernism

John Entenza
John Entenza was the owner and editor of Arts & Architecture magazine an influential Modern publication from 1940 to 1962.  Born in Calumet, Michigan, in 1904, Entenza’s grandfather, John Dymock was a prominent citizen in the Keweenaw Peninsula where he served as vice president of the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company.  The Entenza family moved to Detroit in 1910 and to California in 1917. 

In 1941 Charles and Ray Eames moved from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where they had been at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.  Entenza met the couple soon after and introduced them to Richard Neutra, who found them a place to live in his newly designed and constructed Strathmore Apartments in Los Angeles. Entenza became an investor in the Plyformed Wood Company, the company created by Charles and Ray Eames to produce their molded plywood splints during World War II. He enlisted the Eameses to contribute to Arts & Architecture.  Ray acted as an advisor and produced more than twenty covers for the publication, while Charles served as a member of the board and occasionally wrote articles.

In January 1945, Entenza initiated the Arts & Architecture Case Study House Project, among his most significant contributions to the spread of the modern philosophy.  The purpose was to develop Modern homes for the typical post war family and showcasie how materials developed during for the war effort could be applied to domestic construction.  Entenza handpicked eight architects to design the first Case Study homes. Of the eight, four had strong Michigan connections:  Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames, and Ralph Rapson (a native of Alma and a University of Michigan graduate) had all studied at Cranbrook while Summer Spaulding was born in Ionia, Michigan, and graduated from the University of Michigan.  Case Study House #8 designed by Charles Eames has become a symbol of American Modernism.

Joseph Hudnut
Joseph Hudnut was born in Big Rapids, Michigan, and attended Harvard before receiving a graduate degree in 1912 from the University of Michigan, where he studied under Dean Emil Lorch. As an architectural educator Hudnut is significant for establishing the Harvard Graduate School of Design and for bringing Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer to Harvard in 1937. 

John Lautner
Born and raised in Marquette, Michigan, Lautner joined the Taliesin Fellowship in 1933 and remained working with Frank Lloyd Wright for six years.  He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1939 and is known as one of America’s most significant modern architects
due to the outstanding modern residences he designed in Southern California. Lautner also contributed to the application of modern design to commercial architecture.  The term Googie Architecture refers to the glass, steel, and wood designs he did for the Googie Coffee Shop chain in Los Angeles.

IMPORTS: Great Works by Modern Architects in Michigan

Lafayette Park –Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Lafayette Park, Detroit’s first residential urban renewal project, was designed to keep middle-class families from leaving the central city for the suburbs.  The site plan for Lafayette Park was developed through a collaborative effort among developer Herbert Greenwald, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and landscape architect Alfred Caldwell. The thirteen-acre city park is surrounded by eight separate housing components including the high rise towers and low rise court houses and townhouses. It is the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe residential buildings in the world.  The site also includes a school and shopping center connected to the park and residences by curved paths through spacious meadows.  Lafayette Park is an outstanding example of the International style and the “superblock” plan and is in the process of being nominated as a National Historic Landmark.

St. Francis de Sales Church – Marcel Breuer